Have you ever stopped to think about the importance of water? It’s a humbling exercise. After all, water is a necessity of life. Your body is 75% water, and if you went without it for more than a week, you’d probably die. Water runs through the pipes in your home. We drink it, bathe in it, and, unfortunately, dispose of waste in it. Water is also at work when you flip on the light switch (Hydroelectricity is one of leading forms of renewable energy). We are utilizing water even when it seems like we aren’t. If you like cheeseburgers, it took water to keep the cow alive before providing the meat (and cheese) on your sandwich. It took water to grow the wheat that turns into your burger’s bun, and the lettuce and tomatoes didn’t just appear out of thin air one day. Water is such an integral part of our life, we should all be more diligent when it comes to protecting it, which puts added importance on World Water Monitoring Day, happening this weekend.
Here at EnviroForensics, we do what we can to protect the water supply in our corner of the planet – performing environmental cleanups on a regular basis – but the issue of keeping water clean is of global importance with terrifying consequences should it be ignored. After all, the world’s water supply is a finite thing. We have the same amount of water we started with when the earth was in its infancy. An estimated 326 million cubic miles of water, which sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t when you realize that only 1% is useable (97% is saltwater, 2% is locked up in ice caps and glaciers).
In South Asia, they’re already seeing what could happen if you don’t sufficiently monitor and protect your water supply. A recent land survey found that 60% of the groundwater in the Indo-Gangetic Basin is undrinkable. The basin provides drinking water to more than 750 million people in Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. 23% of it was found to be salty, while the other 37% was contaminated with high concentrations of arsenic. The latter is a possible consequence of the use of fertilizers and mining in the area.
Luckily, measures have been taken to ensure that no one goes without access to clean water. In 2010, the Council of Canadians Chairwoman, Maude Barlow, led the charge to make clean water a human right, serving as a senior advisor to the President of the United Nations. The resolution she helped put in place requires governments to ensure that people can “enjoy sufficient, safe, and affordable water, without discrimination,” and mandates they take reasonable steps to avoid a contaminated water supply and to ensure there are no water access distinctions amongst citizens.
Even with governments and environmentally-minded companies actively working to save the water supply, it really is up to all of us to keep this resource safe for the generations that follow. If we all do a little, no one does a lot, and that’s a sentiment we can all drink (water) to!
Become involved with Water For Empowerment
We’re very proud to be partners with this amazing organization providing girls in developing nations with access to clean water, which assists in protecting these girls from being abducted or sold into the human trafficking industry. And through water education and training, Water For Empowerment is helping women in these villages drill and maintain clean drinking water wells, build latrines, and practice good hygiene. It’s the belief that these skills can help improve their lives as well as those in their families and communities. You can learn more about Water For Empowerment here.
Join the World Water Monitoring Challenge
This program, run by Earth Echo International, aims to engage citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local bodies of water by providing free test kits. So far this year, mo
re than 70 thousand bodies of water have been monitored by 1.4 million people in 142 different countries. You can find more information on this organization here.
Here are a few other things you can do:
Take showers instead of baths
Turn water off while brushing your teeth
Use natural landscape so you don’t have to water your lawn
Use biodegradable soap
Clean your house with Vinegar instead of Bleach
Properly dispose of all waste, especially paints, solvents, polishes, batteries, etc.
Recycle old electronics
Don’t throw old pills down the drain
Have on-site septic systems pumped and inspected every 5 years