World Water Day: Water, Water Everywhere, Only if We Share
It is fair to say that in the western world we take water for granted. At home, one can turn on the tap, pour themselves a glass of tap water, and even leave it running without fear that the flow might stop.
We are able bathe and shower in temperate water as and when we please and we can walk down to the local shop and buy ourselves a bottle of mineral water if we are feeling thirsty.
The fact that billions struggle to survive on a daily basis due to lack of water is rarely highlighted on a global scale. So while today may be just another Friday to many, it is important to know that it is World Water Day. Run by the United Nations, the day is devoted to promoting issues surrounding the world’s water resources across the globe.
Observed every year on 22 March since 1993, awareness of the day has grown aided in recent years by social media. This year is the landmark 20th anniversary of its formation, and UN Water are determined to make it the biggest and most widely disseminated yet, with no fewer than 450 events taking place on every continent today. This year official festivities are taking place in The Hague, Netherlands.
Choosing the official slogan for this year was even put to a public competition with over 12,000 proposals sent in from 180 countries. Eventually, a Ms Megha Kumar from India was the winner: “Water, Water Everywhere, Only if We Share”.
Each year UN Water, a dedicated arm of the United Nations set up in 2003, helps countries achieve centrally defined water preservation goals, chooses a theme, and promotes key messages to a world audience. And 2013 is a big year for water. Coinciding with World Water Day today, this year is also the International Year of Water Cooperation. After a proposal by Tajikistan, the aim is to make people recognise the importance of cooperation in striking a balance between different needs and priorities, in order to share water equitably. The rather bold claim of the organisers is to “use water as an instrument of peace.”
September 2013 will mark World Water Week and will take place in Stockholm where experts will meet to discuss the planet’s most urgent water-related issues. All this might not whet the appetite (no pun intended) of the ordinary person. However, it really should – the fulfilment of seven billion peoples’ basic human needs of sustenance, the environment, socio-economic development and poverty reduction are all heavily dependent on water. The shortage and unnecessary wastage of it is a pertinent issue.
Various NGOs have warned that as many as a billion people are without access to safe drinking water. Rapid urbanisation, pollution and climate change threaten the resource while demands for water are increasing in order to satisfy the needs of a growing world population. The fact that water is a shared resource is often lost on people hence this call for cooperation.
Jacob Tompkins the managing director of Waterwise, an NGO that promotes water efficiency says: “In the UK our water consumption is 150 litres per person per day; this is a third higher than our European neighbours. By following these tips you will cut your water use which is good for the environment and could cut your water and energy bills (heating water in the home is about 30 per cent of your energy bill).”
The top 10 tips for saving water:
1. Take shorter showers instead of a bath – use a shower timer and see if you can keep your showers to less than five minutes.
2. Fix leaking and dripping taps.
3. Water your garden early in the morning or late at night when evaporation is lowest.
4. Never use the toilet as a dustbin.
5. Use a Hippo or Save-a-Flush (cistern displacement device) to reduce the amount of water used in the loo.
6. Use a bowl when washing salad or veg then throw the water on your garden.
7. Only use your washing machine or dishwasher when you have got a full load.
8. Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth – in fact toothpaste works better when it’s dry!
9. Put a layer of mulch on the soil around your plants; it will suppress weeds, reduce evaporation and keep the soil moist.
10. Finally, drink tap water! Tap water is just as good as bottled water, it’s a lot cheaper and it better for the planet.Tagged in: world water day
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