Water. A word I rarely think about and a basic need I never fret over obtaining. In my house I have three faucets, two showers, a washing machine, a water heater, two hoses and sprinkler system. All of the local businesses and stores in my town either sell bottled water or have a water fountain within close proximity. There are lakes and rivers that surround North Florida, and I can choose to swim in them at any time (that’s if I don’t feel like first finding a pool to dip in).
Who cares, right?
What if there was a woman my age, with a husband and a child like myself living across the globe who has to walk several miles a day just to bring home a single bucket of clean water? What if she only had maybe 8 oz of water a day or less, leaving her dehydrated in most standards? Sounds ridiculous and unimaginable.
It’s a reality for 800 million people in the world. I freak out when our city has a “Do Not Drink The Water” restriction for a day or two. You mean I have to boil my water or go buy bottles? Sigh.
The truth is that unclean water kills more people each year than every form of violence, including war, combined. The shortage of water affects 1 in 3 people worldwide. It’s one of our three most basic needs to survive, yet so many of our international neighbors are not able to access it. I couldn’t imagine not being able to provide water for my son.
The scary thing is that a lack of clean water has and continues to threaten cities across America. We aren’t as untouchable as we’d like to think. Bacteria and chemical-ridden water sickens approximately 20 million Americans every year. One artitcle from The Roots says that by 2013, thirty-six states are expected to have water shortages. One of the big problems especially in the South are the extreme droughts, which dries up the reservoirs and also makes people want to drink more. It’s an unbreakable cycle; people are going to drink water when they are hot and thirsty. There have even been desperate cases where cities and counties have had to turn off the water supply, leaving people with bottled water being the only option for days.
I watched Taking the Waste Out of Wastewater this morning, a short video on the growing water crisis and a possible solution for it. However, the answer involves us as silly human beings getting over our mental inhibitions. The process of solving the problem would include the recycling of water; sewage and all. It’s very interesting, I highly recommend a 6 minute break to watch it.
So what can you do? How can you help this world crisis in your own home?
Well, you first start by realizing how much water you use each day. According to an article from CBS News, the average person in America uses 30 gallons of water in the morning just from showering, using the bathroom and drinking a cup of coffee. And that’s just by 9 a.m.! You can only imagine the amount total at the end of the day.
Think about how you use water each day and work on conserving it. When you take a shower, turn the water off while you lather, and no more standing there for twenty minutes to contemplate the meaning of life! Do the same when you wash your dishes. Turn the water off as you scrub several dishes and then rinse them all at once. Every little bit helps the big problem.
Once you’ve started to do your part locally, you can think about helping out globally. There are many non-profit organizations that work hard to bring clean water to people who don’t have access to it all over the world. Go check ’em out!