We all know water is a precious resource. We literally ARE water (the human body is over half water, after all), and so much of what we rely on and appreciate in this world – our health, the food on our plates, the clothing we wear, the natural scenery we enjoy, the industries we build, (and the list could go on) – is utterly dependent on it. Yet, for some reason, we seem to often and easily take water for granted, perhaps because it flows so readily from our taps.
Some Facts About This Precious Resource
Here are some facts to ponder about this life-giving liquid and our relationship with it:
- A mere 3% of all the water on earth is in the form of freshwater, the other 97% being salty.
- Of that 3%, only 0.3% is on earth’s surface and, therefore, readily available to us (the rest is underground, or frozen).
- The UN estimates the average person needs 20-50 liters of water daily to meet drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs.
- Globally, one in six people lack access to decent water sources.
- Water use has been growing at twice the rate of population growth for the past century.
- Despite its importance, water sources are regularly polluted.
- The United States’ water infrastructure recently received a D- grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers for a failing water system that, among other problems, loses some 7 billion gallons of clean drinking water per day due to leaks.
Easy Tips For Conserving Water
- It takes ten liters of water to make one sheet of paper, so use both sides.
- Eat more vegetarian meals: 1 kg. of meat takes between 5 to 20 times more water to produce than 1 kg. of grain.
- Turning off the tap while you brush your teeth can save 25 gallons per month.
- Running the the washing machine and dishwaher only when full can save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
- Install a water-saving device in your toilet to save up to 45,000 liters of water a year.
Learn More About Water Footprints & Global Water Use
Check out the wonderful website Waterfootprint.org to learn about the water footprint for different products, nations, and industries. You can even calculate your own water footprint.
And learn more about global water use and other statistics by checking out this interactive map at UN-Water.
A final fun fact to ponder: because Earth is a closed-system, water has been recycling through the system for millions of years, which means that glass of water you just downed has been in countless other places, and in countless other bodies. Think of all the stories those H2O molecules could tell you!