Water Conservation

Water. It has the power to keep us alive and to take life away. It helps regulate our body temperature and prevents us from serious health problems. 97% of the world’s water is in our oceans, leaving 2% frozen in the ice caps and only 1% in all the streams, rivers, reservoirs and lakes.

As a result of global warming, drought has become a major issue, not just in third world countries but in places like England, Australia and China. As if that is not enough, over the last fifty years, the population has grown by 3.1 billion and all of these people have needed water to survive. Yet over the last five decades, the amount of water available has not increased, efforts are being made to get more of this liquid gold through drilling deeper wells and building bigger dams to hold the water. The situation becomes worse when you realise that there is likely to be another 2.8 billion people added to our planet over the next fifty years and, like the 3.1 billion before them, they will also need a good supply of water to keep them alive.

With facts like these, it is vital that we do something to conserve water. In 2005, the then London Mayor Ken Livingstone urged Londoners not to flush their toilets as often and take five minute showers instead of baths. On average, the 7,172,000 people in London use 165 litres of water a day, more than the national average of 150 litres.

In the 70’s, the world consumed only half of the water that it does today, 80% of diseases in the developing world were related to polluted water. Due to sharp rises in population, the necessity of water management became clear. Moving forward to 2003, over 1 billion people had no access to clean water and lived with poor sanitation, these conditions were causing around a staggering 10,000 deaths a day. The United Nations estimate the world’s water supply will fall by 1/3 in the next 20 years. The hardest hit areas will be Africa and the Middle East where population is increasing and rivers are drying up.

We will always have droughts as it’s part of the natural weather cycle. The main issue stands with humans. Through the growth of population and our growing consumption habits, we are running low on water. So what can we do? Well we could listen to Mr Livingstone and flush less, bathe less, and turn the water off while brushing our teeth, it will make a difference but only a small one. We need to look for bigger ideas. These big ideas can come by way of organisations set up to help out in the search for more water. We should look towards organisations such as CARE, Ethos International, Global Water and WaterAid, all of which have the goal of conserving water and providing clean water to those who need it.

After all, water is a basic human right, not a privilege.