Why is Water Conservation So Important?
We’ve recently released a new Super Speedy 60 Second Shower Challenge, which works with water charity Pump Aid to help reduce the nation’s water wastage by taking shorter showers.
Pump Aid work with some of the poorest and hardest to reach communities in the world to provide access to safe water and a decent toilet. To help raise further awareness of their cause, we spoke to Pump Aid’s Iain Lucey to hear why water conservation is so important:
The Importance of Water Conservation
Recently I’m sure you have been hearing a lot about water conservation; In our work here at Pump Aid it is a huge part of what we do, ensuring the sustainability of our projects. With the world being more connected than ever, and more and more people being aware of the vital and precarious nature of our water supply, it is not uncommon to hear about our water footprint being spoken of in the same breath as our carbon footprint.
The quite sudden emergence of a water footprint comes from the increasing realisation of just how important water is to everyone on the planet. Regardless of whether you live in Birmingham, Flint, Michigan or the Global South, the strain being put on the world water resources will affect us all. Below we will look at just why water is so important, why it is under threat and some ideas on what can be done, both locally and globally.
Why do we need water?
Water sustains all life on earth. Really we could leave this point there but when we look at it further we see how water is behind nearly all aspects of our lives.
On the global level, approximately 70-80% of fresh water resources are used by agriculture providing food and economic stability to billions of people worldwide, which is the case for both the developing world and large agricultural producing countries such as Australia and the USA. The need for these levels of production is great; it is estimated that we need 1 litre of water per kilocalorie of food produced.
Water is also vital for hydro-power that provides for millions of communities across the world. Just think of the size of the Hoover damn for an example of water’s potential. Furthermore, stocks such as freshwater fish are a major source of both global diet and income and are reliant on fresh water. Water is also behind economic development and the extraction of vital resources such as oil. In the home, water can be found in the production of beer, meats, fruit, vegetables. Basically, water is everywhere.
Why is water under such threat?
The threats facing water are numerous and profound; population growth has led to an explosion of irrigation for agriculture across the globe and it is estimated that water productivity and use saw a 100 fold increase between the end of World War II and the year 2000.
Climate Change is also posing a threat to the world’s freshwater resources, with reduced rainfall in some areas and increased rainfall in others. The world largest source of freshwater, the Arctic regions, face significant decline over the next 30 years due to global warming.
What forms can water conservation take?
We can all start saving water at home. Simple measures such as keeping taps off when brushing your teeth (which astonishingly can save up to 6 litres of water per minute!) and taking a shower instead of a bath, will not only help you save money on your water bill, but will help ease the pressure on water resources across the globe.
On the global stage, efforts such as the Sustainable Development Goals are aiming to bring together countries across the planet in a collective effort to achieve real progress by 2030. Just one of the goals set out by the SDG’s is to:
“Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning."
And if you were to travel to countries across the world you would find an extraordinary and inspiring amount of water conservation efforts, from conservation farming in rural communities in Malawi, to efforts by Coca-Cola, who recently distributed over 2,000 water purification systems to help ease the burden on freshwater resources.
A lot of the news coming out at the moment about water resources makes for sobering reading, but efforts are underway across the globe and we are all capable of making a difference at home today!
Many thanks to Iain Lucey at Pump Aid for contributing this article. To donate to this charity please click here.