World Water Day started in 1993 by the United Nations to bring attention to the need for care and management of the world’s water resources. The theme for 2012 is “Water and Food Security,” which investigates the relationship between water and global food supplies.
With a global population growing more rapidly than ever and over 1 billion people worldwide going to bed hungry every night, we need to consider how to produce food for everyone and not deplete our planet’s freshwater sources. Not only do we use water to produce food, but we end up altering the water cycle and polluting whole bodies of water by doing so. Irrigation diverts water and depletes areas of previously abundant water, leaving them vulnerable to famine and human conflict over the remaining resources. Also, nutrient runoff from crops and animal farms pollutes bodies of water leaving them devoid of life. Scientists call such areas dead zones and they exist in areas around the U.S., such as the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and off the coast of Northern California, and thus affect fisheries and their ability to sustain large catches.
Together we can all pitch in to save water and ensure an adequate supply. Simply things like turning off the tap, taking shorter showers, and planting water friendly gardens and landscapes can make a big difference. Also, consider what you eat and how much water is used to produce your meal (visit waterfootprint.org to see how much water is used in production of specific food items). Animal products are heavy water users if you add up all the gallons used to sustain and grow the animal before it arrives at your table. Pledging to reduce your meat intake by even one less meal a week is a great start.
Also, pay attention to how much water you let go down the drain, whether you are waiting for water to cool or warm up when you turn on the tap (Can you catch some of that unused water and give it to your plants or dog or use it for household chores?), to your dish-washing and clothes washing habits, as well as how often you flush the toilet (don’t flush Q-tips, tissues and spiders down, just toss those squashed bugs in the trash!).
For more tips and information the following websites are great resources: