“Our Thirsty World”

The most recent National Geographic is about Water and Our Thirsty World. This is not the first time I’ve heard that water will be the next geopolitical issue that faces our world, but Nat Geo really puts it into perspective by making you realize the issue isn’t 5 or 10 years from now…it’s affecting our world RIGHT NOW!

20% of the world’s population…that’s 1.2 BILLION people do not have access to clean drinking water and 2.5 billion don’t have a proper way to dispose of human waste…leaving them to defecate in open fields or near sources of their own drinking water, posing a huge threat to human health. Something must be done about this.

Clean drinking water is essential for every individual on this planet because we all need it, regardless of age, race, gender, or religious affiliation. Luckily, NGO’s like WaterAid are fighting for this essential human necessity. They work in India, South East Asia, and Africa with local communities building sustainable and effective water extraction methods. Unlike some groups, WaterAid creates community based committees that continue the extraction even after WaterAid has left allowing the system to continue and run effectively.

There are other projects, like dew collection systems that have also proved to be extremely successful! The possibilities to change our current situation for the better are endless…we just need to do it!

Keep in mind, this is not just a problem facing countries overseas…water is an issue in the States as well. The fastest growing portion of the U.S. is the Southwest…a desert. This should have been an obvious sign for us to stay away, not to settle there especially in places like Nevada. The issue of water scarcity may not even be contained just in the Southwest warns Circle of Blue Waternews.

I think the most effective way we will change our situation is by educating everyone, not just people in impoverished countries, that water is not an endless, limitless resource. Fresh water accounts for less than 1% of the world’s water! We need to make improvements as individuals and as a country. Americans use over 100 gallons of water a DAY, while others only use two. We are so careless with our water usage, like leaving the sink running while we brush our teeth or while we shave. Turning off the faucet, even if just for a minute will save fresh water and keep your water bills down. Here are 100 ways to conserve water! I challenge you to implement at least 5 into your daily life.

It’s important to understand all the factors of an issue. Which brings us to private ownership of water. I recently watched Blue Gold: World Water Wars, which is a great resource in understanding the political issue associated with water. The movie goes into detail about corporate owner’s of water in different countries like Coca Cola and the effects of that ownership on locals and their water.

“Giant water, energy, food, and shipping companies have plans to buy water rights, privatize publicly owned water systems, promote bottled water, and sell “bulk” water by transporting it from water rich areas to markets desperate for more water. At the same time, to ensure maximum profits, these companies are lobbying to weaken water quality standards, and pushing for trade agreements that hand over the U.S. water resources to foreign corporations.

Right here in the United States, where some regions are already suffering from serious water shortages, corporations from Vivendi to Nestle are poised to make a profit on water.”

For more on water privatization visit here, to learn about the the major players in the problem and issues that have arisen from private ownership of such a basic human necessity.

So what does all this mean for you? It means supporting groups that help people in other countries acquire clean and relatively inexpensive water, speaking out against water privatization, limiting your own water usage at home, and encouraging those around you to do the same.

Here are some different ways to work on limiting water usage at home:
How to create a rain water collection at home
Re-using greywater
Water saving devices
Xeriscape in Texas or other South western states
Use only water friendly, drought-tolerant plants

Please do what you can…the world depends on it.