Today is World Water Day, and let us all spare a thought for those 2.2 billion people globally who are still missing out on one of the most basic necessities for our existence, while we have convenient, endless access to it in our comfortable, big cities. Let us be thankful TO water, and FOR water, every time we wash our hands, for keeping us safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remember to take the #SafeHands Challenge by sharing your handwashing video on social media channels. And remember to turn off the tap while not in use.
“Everyone has a role to play. It is surprising how many water actions anyone, anywhere can take to address climate change.”
No matter how old you are, what is your job or where you live; each and every one of us can be a ‘Water Hero’ by saving water in our everyday lives. Hundreds of thousands of people are taking individual action on climate change as part of the UN’s #ActNow campaign.
Changes We Can All Make TODAY to be a ‘Water Hero’
01 | Take 5-minute shower (or shorter)
With 80% of wastewater never being treated, taking shorter showers is the simplest and most direct way to save this precious resource. A fun way to time yourself would be to play your favorite song while you shower.
If everyone in this city engaged in this very symbolic action, they are not just saving millions of liters of water, but rather changing the mindset of people and getting them to recognize the importance of this precious resource.
Here are a few more simple steps to reduce water at home
- Have a bath using a bucket instead of a shower or bathtub
- Only flush when necessary and perhaps use wastewater instead.
- Placing a sealed water bottle in the toilet cistern can reduce the water flow
- Don’t use the toilet as a trash bin.
- Close tap while brushing teeth / shaving
02 | Eat more plant-based meals
Dietary changes, featuring plant-based foods and sustainable animal-sourced food, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 8.0 giga tons a year of CO2 equivalent.
Meat and dairy products have a massive water footprint, that is the amount of water required to produce these foods. This includes the water required to grow cattle feed, the water the animals consume during their lifetime, the pollution of surface water and finally the water used during the storage, transportation and retail stages.
For example, a quarter pound beef burger would use 2350 liters of water, while a plant-based veggie burger with the same protein content (20 g) would need just 160 liters of water, almost 15 times less.
Here are some more examples of how much water different foods require：
03 | Do not waste food
An estimated 1/3 of all food produced globally is lost or goes to waste. Reducing food waste reduces demand on agriculture - one of the biggest water consuming sector which accounts for around 70% of all freshwater usage globally.
Here are a few more simple tips to reduce food wastage
- Buy ugly vegetables and produce closer to expiry date
- Store left over food for your next meal
- Pack left over food from restaurants / weddings / corporate functions
- Donate food if unable to consume excess leftovers
04 | Turn off your gadgets when not in use
Power generation is highly water intensive. By powering down our devices when we’re not using them, we would use less energy which in turn would require less energy production.
Here are a few more simple tips to reduce electricity and energy
- Buy energy saving ‘5 star’ rated appliances
- Shift to energy saving LED bulbs
- Take regular breaks from electronic gadgets
- Shift to non-fossil fuel transportation
- Avoid short distance flights if alternatives are available
- Use video conferencing wherever possible to reduce unnecessary business travel
05 | Shop consciously
A typical pair of jeans takes 10,000 liters of water to produce, equal to what a person drinks in 10 years. Sourcing our goods from responsible sources can have a big impact on the consumption of water and other essential resources.
Every time we buy something new, we are using up a lot of the earth’s finite resources, which includes water. All industries use a lot of water in the manufacturing process.
Here are a few more simple tips to shop sustainably
- Buy less clothes and electronic gadgets
- Reuse / swap old unwanted stuff instead of buying the latest
- Shop for environmentally responsible brands
- Reduce disposable single use plastics
8 Organizations Supporting Global Water Initiatives
While most of our cities in China have a very good water infrastructure various rural parts of China and the world are still grappling with getting consistent daily access to clean water. Supporting these projects is a great way to spread your impact globally.
Here’s some of our favourite organizations working on water initiatives.
- Charity Water
- a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations
- Rather than simply taking donations, Charity: Water gets people to start their own campaigns to raise money for clean water.
- To make a donation visit this link: https://www.charitywater.org/donate
- We Are Water Foundation
- A non-profit organisation, set up in 2010 with the aim of contributing to the resolution of problems derived from the lack of water and sanitation in the world.
- Develops projects that guarantee water access and sanitation to the most disadvantaged areas of the planet.
- To make a donation visit this link: https://www.wearewater.org/en/get-involved_253022
- The Water Project
- An organization that is helping communities in sub-Saharan Africa gain access to clean drinking water.
- Helps communities dig wells, dams, build rain-catching equipment, filter surface water, and improve sanitation & hygiene practices
- To support the organization visit this link: https://thewaterproject.org/give-water
- Founded by Matt Damon, this is a non-profit organization that operates in several different regions of the world, including Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia.
- Operates by securing funding for local water projects and working with local partners in each region, helping them stay flexible and cost-effective.
- To donate to their project visit this link: https://water.org/donate/
- Water Aid
- A not-for-profit making clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere.
- Focused on helping people break free from poverty and change their lives for good through the three essentials of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene
- To support Water Aid visit: https://www.wateraid.org/uk/donate
- China Water Risk
- Based out of Hong Kong, the organiation is working to catalyse a better understanding of the complex web of water risks.
- To access a wide range of reports, intelligence, analyses, visit their website: http://www.chinawaterrisk.org/
- Mangrove Alliance
- A global community committed to securing mangroves and protecting the important role these forests play in our world.
- Mangrove forests are among the most productive ecosystems on earth, and serve many important functions, including water filtration, prevention of coastal erosion, carbon storage, food, timber, and livelihood provision, and biodiversity protection.
- To find out more about their work visit: http://www.mangrovealliance.org/
- The Nature Conservancy
- Founded in the US in 1951, TNC is one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world
- The organization is working to create a world where people and nature can thrive.
- To support their work visit this link: https://support.nature.org/site/Donation2?df_id=10420&10420.donation=form1
FACTS AND FIGURES
- Increasing temperatures on the planet and more variable rainfalls are expected to reduce crop yields in many tropical developing regions, where food security is already a problem.
- More than 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress. The situation will likely worsen as populations and the demand for water grow, and as the effects of climate change intensify.
- Climate change will have its most direct impact on child survival through three direct channels: changing disease environments, greater food insecurity, and threats to water and sanitation.
- Scientists, farmers and the business community consider variability, casted as ‘extreme weather events’, as one of the most likely production risks over the next ten years.
- With the existing climate change scenario, by 2030, water scarcity in some arid and semi-arid places will displace between 24 million and 700 million people.
- It is estimated that by 2040, one in four of the world’s children under 18 – some 600 million in all – will be living in areas of extremely high water stress.
- By the 2080s, land unsuitable for agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa die to severe climate, soil or terrain constraints may increase by 30 to 60 million hectares.