Monday, March 21, 2016

World Water Day and Water Facts

       Water is arguably the most valuable resource on earth. Next to oxygen, it is the most important necessity for life, but we don't treat it that way. Water makes up about 70% of the earth's surface and about 60% of the adult human body, yet we waste so much of it. As a species we seems to take water for granted and have little concept of its true value. Especially in more developed nations like the United States, the lack of efficiency of which water is used and the fact that we waste far more than we use is clear evidence of this. Until recently, many people in our country had little knowledge of how lucky we are to have unfettered access to clean water. Over 1,000,000,000 people world wide live without access to clean water and women and children have to walk an average of 3.7 miles each day to fetch the water that they need to stay alive! To these people, clean water is a luxury and it is no help that big industries such as mining and fossil fuel extraction are often the cause of water contamination in these places. 

       It was not until the last five or ten years when the drought in California began and just the last couple months with the news of the lead crisis in Flint, have Americans began to get a grasp of the importance of water and the effects that its scarcity can have. Only 12% of our water in the U.S. is used for public water supply and about 95% of that goes right down the drain. The average American uses between 140-170 gallons of water a day, and when you consider that the body only needs 2.5 liters to survive, the magnitude of our water waste really comes into perspective. Agriculture for food production, livestock, and irrigation is the biggest user and polluter of water in our country and can be one of the easiest ways to reduce water waste. The majority of water used for these purposes seeps into the ground during transportation or simply evaporates before it can reach the plants or animals it was intended for. We must engineer a new mode of water dispensing for agriculture that uses less water and more efficiently transports it.          

      Consumer choices can also have a large impact on the amount of clean fresh water available. Dairy and red meats require intensive water use to produce and cutting out or reducing your consumption of these things can make a real difference. Even within your home, making smart water choices can have big results. Taking shorter showers, washing dishes more wisely, and turning off the water when brushing your teeth can save up to 100 gallons of water each day. Please be sure to keep all of these things in mind when using water because it is a resource that everyone in the world uses, but not all are able to get. So on World Water Day take time to appreciate the water you have and consider helping those who have less of it. 


1 comment:

  1. Ithaca Dining Services talks the talk, but also walks the walk!

    Did you know that we went trayless in all dining halls and have upgraded to more efficient dishwashers to mitigate water use? We have also cut down on bottled beverage usage tremendously by adding Coca Cola Freestyle machines in Sub Connection and IC Square Food Court. To date, we’ve reduced bottled water usage by nearly 20,000 bottled beverages by using Water Monsters and Air Voids at catered events, such as Commencement, Convocation, and Admission Fairs- just to name a few.