The Luxury of Water

My plastic water bottle broke a few weeks back. Every time I drank out of it, it would leak water down my shirt – annoying and not very practical. Not wanting to buy something new, I told myself that I would just drink water from a cup. But having a bottle, it makes water portable. I can drink it in my car, around the house, while I am out and about and it was second nature to have it with me and drink regularly. I sucked it up and bought one, a $10 purchase I knew I would use every day, all day. I found an ello bottle at Target, a sturdy glass water bottle with a nice gripping silicon sleeve. I like how safe, durable, eco-friendly, easy to sanitize, and trendy it is all at the same time.

As I filled up the new bottle for the first time, it hit me – what a luxury this is! One flick of my wrist and the faucet is running with clear, clean water. I am ashamed to say how often I take this for granted. While I have always been conscious of my personal water usage, I don’t stop often to enough to reflect how easy we have it.  The world water shortage is a very real and growing problem and we can be completely oblivious to it because it is so accessible and seemingly never-ending. Nearly 2/3 of the world will experience water shortages by 2025, a date that is quickly approaching. Water, the source of life, is a luxury.

The World Water Situation

70% of freshwater is in the form of ice and permanent snow cover in mountainous regions, the Antarctic and Arctic regions. Almost 30% of the world’s freshwater is stored underground in the form of groundwater. The total usable freshwater supply for ecosystems and humans is less than 1% of all freshwater resources. Environmental balances are disturbed and cannot play their regulating role anymore.

Each person needs 20-50 liters of safe freshwater a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking and cleaning. More than one in six people worldwide – 894 million – don’t have access to this amount of safe freshwater and yet American households use an average of 350 GALLONS daily. On top of that, every day 2 million tons of sewage and other effluents drain into the world’s water sources. In developing countries, 70% of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply. Doing the math, I’m surprised it will take until 2025 to reach that shortage.

What We Can Do

These may seem like small steps, but every bit helps, especially if every person across the country did their own part, it would add up quickly!

  • Go Meatless on Mondays (or every day!) – food accounts for at least half of your water footprint. It takes 1,857 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef.
  • Eat Sustainable Fish – the five fish to eat right now are pacific sardines, pacific halibut, mussels, barramundi, wild Alaskan salmon
  • If It’s Yellow, Let It Mellow – it might take some getting used to, but not flushing every time can make a BIG difference. A family of four could save 9-11 flushes a day, equaling 45-55 gallons!
  • Reduce Junk Mail – about 28 billion gallons of water is used to produce all of that unwanted paper.
  • Shop Less or Thrifty – it takes 2,900 gallons of water to make a single pair of blue jeans.
  • Used a Reusable Water Bottle – It takes three liters of water to make every one-liter bottle of water, and that’s before they even put the water in it!

Live green, love green.

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