Water HoW mucH Water do We use? Taking a shower .......15 – 30 gallons Taking a bath ..........35 – 50 gallons Flushing the toilet ........4 –7 gallons Brushing teeth ...................1 gallon Washing dishes ..........9 –20 gallons Washing clothes ............ 30 gallons Watering the lawn ........180 gallons Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency do you think dams are an effective way to conserve water? Every year on March 14, organizers of the International Day of Action for Rivers coordinate events around the world to protest against the construction of dams. Why do you think so many people oppose building dams? People have been building dams for more than a thousand years. Dams are used for water storage and can produce hydro-electricity and prevent floods. Yet many people oppose dams because they often damage nearby agriculture and fishing and can create flooding during heavy rainfall—greatly altering fragile ecosystems. did You KnoW? ■■ A child dies every 20 seconds from diseases caused by a lack of safe water and sanitation. ■■ The average African uses 2-5 gallons of water per day. The average American uses 100 gallons per day. ■■ Millions of women and children walk several hours a day to collect water. ■■ More than half of the diseases in the world are caused by unclean water. ■■ 2.6 billion people in the world do not have showers or toilets. ■■ Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of the world’s water use. Today, almost 900 million people do not have access to safe drinking water—about one in every eight people. The global consumption of water is doubling every twenty years, twice the rate of population growth, and it is estimated that in 2025, at least 3 billion people will be living in areas where it will be difficult or even impossible to meet basic water needs. How can this happen? There are increasing demands on the world’s water supply. Population growth, water-intensive agriculture and economic development are using water faster than it can be replenished. In addition, freshwater resources are in jeopardy due to increasing pollution and climate change. Water is essential to our lives. We need water to drink, to bathe and to grow food. For most of us, the supply of water seems to be endless. We can simply turn on the faucet any time of the day, any day of the year. Throughout the world, however, millions of people must walk for hours each morning to bring water to their homes. In developing countries, lack of clean water is a devastating and often deadly problem. Many times people are forced to draw water from a dirty pond or contaminated river, contributing to poor health and cHecK it out Read more about the global water crisis: www.circleofblue.org/waternews Learn more about waterborne diseases: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/disease/index.html ? Is there enough water for everyone? eacH Year millions of cHildren die unnecessarilY due to a lacK of clean Water disease. Drinking unclean water causes millions of deaths each year from diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis, cholera, typhoid and parasites. access to safe water is a basic human right. It can improve the health, economy and social well-being of a community. We must use water wisely and responsibly to ensure that in the future everyone will have access to drinking water that is affordable and safe. What are some things you can do? Where does our water come from? Most of the Earth’s water is undrinkable. Although 70 percent of the planet’s surface is water, almost all of it is saltwater in the oceans. Only 3 percent of the world’s freshwater is safe for drinking, and 97 percent of that is frozen in glaciers. That leaves us with less than 1 percent usable water from lakes, rivers and underground sources! Why can’t we use water from the ocean? Removing salt from water, called desalination, would greatly help with the world’s water needs, yet because it is so expensive and requires a large amount of energy, most countries cannot afford to do it. But with water shortages threatening populations, desalination may become a necessity in the future.
Water arOUND tHe WOrLD Water issues around tHe World In Haiti water is a matter of life and death. Unclean water is one of the primary causes of illness and many of those who get sick cannot afford the necessary medical treatment. north america south america At an average cost of 2 cents per gallon, tap water is relatively inexpensive and available throughout the united states. Source: WHO 2011, UNICEF 2011, and EPA 2011 cHecK it out Learn more about Water for Life Decade: http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/ Read more about water use in the United States: http://water.usgs.gov/watuse ? How much water do you use each day? Some countries have abundant, untapped stores of water to support population growth, while others are already using most of their available water. Water is also becoming increasingly polluted and although several countries have the technology and can afford to clean their water, the majority of the world cannot. In 2000, world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit set a target to cut in half the proportion of people without access to clean water by 2015. In 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, access to basic sanitation was included. Recognizing the critical need to meet the water and sanitation target and its impact on all the other MDGs, 2005–2015 was designated as the ‘Water for Life’ decade. In 2000, a private company took over the water system in the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Household water costs soon quadrupled, setting off large protests by residents. For many families, this cost increase meant that almost half of their monthly income went to paying for water. Europe asia africa The crisis in the Darfur region of sudan has been called the first war over water. Climate change, land degradation and desertification are among the main causes of the conflict that has left 300,000 people dead and over 2.7 million displaced. Despite abundant rainfall in Bangladesh, the overpopulated country faces a lack of clean sanitation facilities. This is causing waste to flow into and pollute many nearby rivers and streams, creating serious health problems and deaths. By 3pm in the afternoon, many girls in somalia are already making their second trip of the day to collect water for their families. Since only 29 percent of the population has access to clean water, the closest water source is often a 2–3 hour walk each way. This prevents many children from studying or spending time with friends.