Every year, World Water Day is a great opportunity to think about our most precious resource: clean drinking water. 97% of the water on earth is saltwater, and since 2.5% of the fresh water is locked in ice caps, only 0.5% of all water is available for drinking. We need water to survive. Not only do we drink it, we use it for sanitation, we cook with it and we wash our clothes with it. We take its availability for granted. That is a mistake.
1. Water and climate change
This year, the World Water Day’s theme “Water and Climate Change” reminds us that these two topics are inextricably linked. Extreme weather events are making water scarcer by polluting it, extreme heat leads to dangerous droughts and the pole caps melt – the impact of climate change on our water is undeniable.
2. Water and energy
At the same time, our use of water influences the environment. Wastewater takes a lot of energy to be cleaned, and water that has not been cleaned properly pollutes rivers and oceans. In addition, plenty of energy is required just to transport water from one place to another, and according to National Resources Canada, water heating consumes 19% of all the energy used in an average Canadian Household.
However, that also means that we can influence climate change by changing our habits. There is one step that you can take immediately: stop wasting water!
3. Water and our lifestyle
Simple lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. An average Canadian shower uses 9.5 liters of water per minute, according to Global News Canada. That means that taking a shower for 5 minutes instead of 20 saves around 142.5 litres! A lukewarm shower is not only more environmentally friendly, it’s also better for your skin. Do not let the water run unnecessarily and try to reuse water, for example by watering your plants with water that you used to wash your vegetables! If you buy a new dishwasher, go for the energy- and water-efficient one!
We really have to remember how precious water is. We need it to grow our food, it protects our ecosystem and wildlife and it keeps us alive. Fresh water is limited and in order to preserve our future water, we have to learn to conserve the resources we have.
Let’s start now!
Julia Barth (language intern)