More people than you realize are complacent about water pollution.
Despite current knowledge of water pollution and scarcity of safe drinking water, most of us still waste this most important of resources every day.
The statistics are well established, and disturbing. Global water supplies are polluted and waning. Here’s what we know, and what we think you should know, about water statistics and water pollution.
The luck of the draw
If you’re reading this from your home in North America, you’re fortunate (in the big water picture). Generally, water here is safe (with the exception of some neglected cities, like Flint).
But the global statistics are not as encouraging.
- More than 70% of the Earth is covered by water, but the majority of the human population lives in water-bare regions with limited access to potable water.
- Worse, nearly 800 million people have no clean water supply whatsoever.
- An estimated 6 to 8 million people die each year from a lack of clean water.
You don’t know what you got ‘till it’s gone
A lack of adequate public attention on water consumption has left us (a general us, not everybody, but a greater part of the population than not) in North America complacent. We waste water like no other population (with Canada at the most wasteful stretch of the spectrum).
- 40 out of 50 state water managers expect water shortages under average conditions in some portion of their states over the next decade.
- The vast majority of our fresh water supply goes to agriculture.
- The average family in the U.S. consumes more than 6 times the average family in China, and 4 times the average family in India.
- Water stress increases as the population increases. Population trends across the continent point to steady population increases and widespread water stress.
Our populations are increasing, our diets require more water for food production and our water supplies are dwindling.
What can my family do?
- Control your household water consumption. Use the dish washer instead of the sink. Never wash half loads of laundry. Take short showers.
- Rethink your diet. If you consume a lot of meat and dairy, try to cut back on how much of each you eat. Grains, fruits and veggies use less water to produce. Scale back to half of your current meat consumption.
- Stop polluting the existing groundwater supply. Do you dump household cleaners down your drain? Do you flush your unused prescriptions down the toilet? Do you use harmful pesticides in your garden?
- Keep yourself updated on water supply and pollution issues in your area. If you know the water concerns you face locally, you can help resolve them.
- Get involved in global water issues. If we can take steps to ensure the entire planet has safe water supplies, and those who do today aren’t squandering them, we can tackle the future of water together.