Water is not a mere molecule with two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, it is so much more. The planet earth survives completely on water. Our planet is covered 70% with water, but it doesn’t mean the abundance of fresh water on the earth. Freshwater makes up a very small fraction of all water on the planet. While nearly 70 percent of the world is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is fresh. The rest is saline and ocean-based.
By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions as a result of use, growth, and climate change. The challenge we now face as we head into the future is how to effectively conserve, manage, and distribute the water we have (as reported by National Geographic).
We, humans, have exploited freshwater resources to an extent that in another 10 years’ time water will also be added in the list of luxuries. Luxuries that only a few can afford on this planet. With so many active campaigns going on for water conservation there is a hope that humans will recognize the need of the hour.
Facts about Current Water Crisis
Lack of facts also leads to a casual attitude towards water conservation. Much to our surprise, there are already towns across the globe where there is no water. Yes, there is no access to the water; at this moment why don’t you try to imagine a single day in your life without water. Cities like Cape town, Chennai, Yemen, are already struggling hard for freshwater. We have come to this point just because of the unsustainable ways in which each one of us are using water. It’s not only about the big industries which are sucking water tirelessly from the earth but at the same also about how common people also failed to recognize the need to use water conservatively. Before going ahead, I would like all of you to take a glance at below facts which might work as an eye-opener for us.
- 2.3 billion people are living without access to clean water. (World Health Organization)
- In sub-Saharan Africa, women, and girls spend an estimated 40 billion hours a year collecting water. (UN Women, Collecting and Carrying Water, burdensome reality for women: 2014 Update https://bit.ly/1ShoPzy).
- About 4.5 billion people globally – already live within 50km of an “impaired” water resource – one that is running dry, or polluted. (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/may/24/global-majority-water-shortages-two-generations).
- Over the past 40 years the world’s population has doubled and the use of water has quadrupled. (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-18353963)
- 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water worldwide. (Business connect)
- 1 in 9 people worldwide does not have access to safe and clean drinking water. (Business connect)
- There are 119 million in China and 97 million in India without clean drinking water. (Business connect)
- India has just 4% of the world’s freshwater — but 16% of the global population. (Business connect)
- Compared to today, five times as much land is likely to be under “extreme drought” by 2050.
Need of the Hour- Water Conservation
Many of us are worried about the water crisis, we all often argue what is wrong what is right. But none of us is doing anything. Every day we are posting and forwarding water conservation messages, knowing that mere exchange of messages won’t solve the problem. Why not start saving at our level before expecting others to do something huge. We must adapt changes in our lifestyle, a little compromise that won’t cause any harm to our luxuries.
A basic idea of water conservation is spreading awareness regarding the problem, information about the prevailing water-conserving techniques and practices.
I have listed down some of the ideas for water conservation at a personal level. You might be already aware of these but if you haven’t tried them yet try to adapt them now.
- Don’t leave the tap running while brushing, shaving or washing face. Use short bursts of water for cleaning your brush. (This saves about 80% of the water normally used.)
- Flushes consume up to 5-8 liters of water in one use. It is better to upgrade your flush system and install the dual-flush. Half and full flushes for need-based water usage, it cut shorts the water usage to a great extent. If a dual flush is not available, use bucket water when full flush is not required.
- Reduce shower time and install water-saving showerheads. If you are using a bucket for bathing it’s the best thing, you’re saving a lot of water for the planet. But if you’re shower person, please try to keep your shower time maximum to 8-10 minutes. Trust me it will save 50 liters of water per shower. Also, install new water-efficient water heads to reduce the wastage further.
- Ensure that you load washing machine and dishwasher fully to their capacity before running them. It controls unnecessary water wastage. You can soak the clothes in detergent manually and then machine-rinsing them reduces a lot of water wastage. The leftover water can be reused for other purposes.
- Gardening is another water-consuming activity in our daily life. Please make a note that lawns and gardens need only 5 millimeters of water per day during warm weather. Less is needed during spring, fall, or cool weather. Also ensure that you’re watering lawns and gardens during the cool part of the day, in the morning or evening. Do not water on windy days. Do not over-water in anticipation of a shortage. Soil cannot store extra water.
- Reuse wastewater from RO water purifier. If you’re using RO purifier then you must know that for every 1 liter of water purified, it wastes 3 liters of water. You can use a small tank to collect wastewater from RO and use the same for watering plants or washing utensils and clothes.
- Clean fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of letting the tap water run. By doing this, not only you will use less water, but you can also use the water from the pan for watering your plants.
- Don’t waste food. Yes, agriculture is a water-intensive industry. It takes a lot of water to produce the food we eat, the energy we use and all the things that we buy. Wasting food means wasting all the resources including water it took to produce that food. According to Tristram Stuart, author of Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, the irrigation water used globally to grow all the wasted food would be enough to meet the domestic needs of the projected 2050 global population of 9 billion people.
- Don’t use water for defrosting frozen food items. Using water to defrost frozen food is a waste. Just leave them outside for a while at room temperature or in the sun. Food will be defrosted, and water will be saved at the same time.
- Be aware of water leakages. We often ignore the dripping taps and flushes without realizing how much water it is wasting. Keep a check on all the water inlets and outlets, so that whenever there is a leakage that can be fixed immediately.
These are small yet significant steps towards water conservation. Lately, I’ve read somewhere on social media that “We don’t need 100 people doing water conservation perfectly, we need millions of them doing it imperfectly.” And I guess it couldn’t be more apt, to sum up my message.
Countries such as India are likely to be hit hard by global warming, which will bring more freak weather such as droughts that will lead to serious water shortages and affect agricultural output. Let’s together stride towards water conservation and become conscious of each precious drop of water.