Water is a precious commodity. Not everyone realizes it, but we all should because there might come a time that water will be so valuable, more valuable than gold or fuel, that people will fight for it.
I am not exaggerating. Our water supply is fine for now but how will it be 60 years from now when the population is estimated to be more than 9 billion? The sooner we realize how important it is, the more likely we can delay water shortage, if not prevent it.
We can start saving water in our own small ways at home, at work, or at school. But before we discuss the simple ways we can save water, let us first examine its effects so we can have a clearer understanding of how water shortage could be a serious problem.
Effects of Water Shortage
Since the 1900s, about ½ of the world’s total wetlands have disappeared. This disappearance has a great impact on the animals that live there. Moreover, wetlands also help filtrate the water and protect against storm and extreme flooding.
Little to No Access to Potable Water
There more than 1 billion people worldwide who have no access to safe and potable freshwater. This has a great impact on the health of these people.
Our bodies can only survive without water for only 3-4 days. This is sadly why a lot of people die in third-world countries. Other than dehydration, water-borne illnesses can be contacted by the desperation of drinking and using water due to thirst and hygienic purposes.
15 million children 5 years and below die each year because of diseases they’ve contacted through unsafe drinking water and 2.5 billion people have no access to health facilities.
Lack of Education
Children and people that are hungry or sick cannot go to school. They will be spending their time looking for food, water, and hopefully some medicines even just herbal ones to help with the disease, or at least alleviate the pain.
Food shortage leads to poverty and hunger. If there is no more water to water the crops, vegetables, trees, and other food sources, especially during drought, crops, vegetables, and fruits won’t grow and farm animals will die from dehydration.
This can spark violence and conflict among people because everyone will be desperate to have food to eat and water to drink.
Energy sources are getting higher and higher demand as the population grows and industrialization takes place. But this also means a higher demand for freshwater.
Thermoelectric plants need freshwater to withdraw electricity. Oil and fuel also need water in order to be mined and produced. These are just some of the many energy sources that require water for processing.
Dip in the Economy
There will be a slowdown in buying and selling. The same goes for the currents of currency. Water prices will go up and households have to cut down their consumption including drinking which can lead to diseases, and therefore low productivity.
Simple Ways We Can Conserve Water
- Turning off the faucet
When we wash our hands, brush our teeth, or shave, we can turn off the tap and not leave a clean and potable water to just go to waste. As much as 5 liters of water can be saved in every minute the tap runs.
- Shower less and shower faster
A shower head uses more water than a faucet. Every minute yields about 15 liters of water on average. Now you can calculate how much you use if you take long to shower.
Aside from showering faster, try showering less throughout the day, and instead wipe yourself with a damp cloth. You can also change your shower head into a more saving one so not only will you spend less water, but you’ll also have lower water bills.
- Fix leaky toilet
One test you can do to know if your toilet has a leak or not is to put food coloring in the tank. If colored water comes out of the toilet even if it’s not being flushed, then your toilet has a leak. Leaking toilets waste much water.
- Saving dirty laundry
Save up your laundry and wash them in one go. Washing them in two or more separate loads will use about the same amount of water as one wash. That means you spend more water than you would in one wash.
- Steaming vegetables rather than boiling them
Boiling food requires liters of water. Steaming food is a better alternative, and it will keep the nutrients intact.
- Avoid food waste
We always tend to buy more than what we can consume. Agriculture is one of the producers that use the most freshwater use. It means that A LOT of water is used to produce the food we have.
If we waste our food, we also waste the water that was used for it. Buying and eating only what we need saves food, water, and money.
- Water the garden only when needed
Water only when needed. You don’t have to time your sprinklers every day. Up to 2 inches of topsoil can stay wet for up to 3 days.
You can also water the plants early in the morning so the water won’t evaporate as soon as the sun is getting a little high up.
It is heart-braking to know that billions of people struggle just to have safe and potable drinking water, while here we are leaving the faucets open and leaving the leaks unfixed until it is too late, and basically just wasting water and food.
It may seem like we don’t see or feel the shortage of water today, but if we don’t do our part, we surely will witness it in no time. We don’t have to do drastic measures, but the above-mentioned ways can really make a difference.
What small actions today can be big tomorrow which the generations to come will surely be thankful for.