Sunday, March 22nd, is International World Water Day. This event is celebrated on March 22nd every year as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. Each year, a different topic is focused on. In 2014, the topic was Water and Energy. This year, the topic is Water and Sustainable Development. The objective this year is to tell the story around water.
A Brief History
An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The UN General Assembly responded by designating March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day.
Why is Water Conservation So Important?
Doesn’t Canada have plenty of freshwater with all of those Great Lakes nearby? Yes, but the lakes are getting smaller. It is important to realize that although water scarcity is likely not a problem for most of us in Canada, access to adequate amounts of drinking water is a constant struggle for millions of people around the world.
The United Nations has projected that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will be “water poor.” This means that these people either will not have access to the quantity of water they need, or that their quality of water will not be safe enough for consumption.
A billion people in the world today already live in chronic hunger. This is largely due to a lack of water availability for crop production. According to unwater.org, coping with population growth and ensuring access to food and water for everyone calls for a series of actions that we can all help with. These actions include:
- Follow a healthier, more sustainable diet. This largely means cutting back on the amount of meat that you eat. The amount of water required to produce one pound of meat is about 10 times the amount of water required to produce one pound of grains. This means that you can use a lot less water to feed yourself on a diet involving less meat.
- Reduce food wastage. Approximately 30% of the food produced worldwide is never consumed. Therefore the water used to produce it is lost!
- Reduce direct water usage. For example, here at Western we have installed low flow shower heads, saving over 45,000 cubic meters of water annually. By installing these shower heads at home, you can help reduce your direct water usage. You can also think about installing low flow toilets in your home. Some other things you should always be mindful of are unnecessary toilet flushing, the amount of water you use when washing your dishes, and the length of showers. It is easy to modify these behaviours and collectively, they could make a huge difference in your water consumption. Just remember, every time you wash your hands, take a shower, etc., you are drawing from a freshwater resource that is likely only getting smaller and smaller.
We all have a role to play in reducing water consumption, especially here in North America where we are the world’s biggest consumers of water. Do you part to help the environment and become a part of World Water Day’s movements!
Don’t forget to visit: http://sustainability.uwo.ca/news/western_celebrates_the_earth_march_22april_22.html to learn about how you can get involved in Water Day activities at Western and in the community.
For more information on World Water Day and to find out about events happening all over the world, please visit: http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/.