Blog Action Day 2010 – Water!

Croton Dam, NY

Croton Dam, NY, a part of the NYC drinking water system

Today, October 15th, is Blog Action Day. It’s an annual event when bloggers all over the world blog about one issue and this year is about WATER. Why water? Because over a billion people in the world have no access to safe drinking water, unlike you and me.

I am really lucky to live near so many reservoirs and dams. I drive through winding roads around reservoirs daily. The colors are vibrant these days around the reservoir and I have to avoid getting distracted. Instead, I have to concentrate while driving so as not to veer off the road or hit a biker. I love the drive around the reservoir in the fall.

Supposedly, I also have one of the best tasting drinking water in the county. But that’s up for debate as I have two filters under the sink (look at the two month old filters pictured below) and have Zero Water Filters for drinking.

But reading some statistics about water, I am NOT complaining. I am grateful for even having water to drink.

Here are some facts about water provided by blogactionday

The problem of scarce clean water:

Nearly 1 billion people lack access to clean water, which causes a litany of struggles, diseases and even death.

  • 40 Billion Hours: African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink. More Info »
  • 38,000 Children a Week: Every week, nearly 38,000 children under the age of 5 die from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions. More Info »
  • Wars Over Water: Many scholars attribute the conflict in Darfur at least in part to lack of access to water. A report commissioned by the UN found that in the 21st century, water scarcity will become one of the leading causes of conflict in Africa. More Info »
  • A Human Right: In July, to address the water crisis, the United Nations declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right over. But we are far from implementing solutions to secure basic access to safe drinking water. More Info »

Water over-consumption in industrialized countries:

While the developing world faces a water crisis, those in industrialized countries consume far more than their fair share.

  • Food Footprint: It takes 24 liters of water to produce one hamburger. That means it would take over 19.9 billion liters of water to make just one hamburger for every person in Europe. More Info »
  • Technology Footprint: The shiny new iPhone in your pocket requires half a liter of water to charge. That may not seem like much, but with over 80 million active iPhones in the world, that’s 40 million liters to charge those alone. More Info »
  • Fashion Footprint: That cotton t-shirt you’re wearing right now took 1,514 liters of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 6,813 liters. More Info »
  • Bottled Water Footprint: The US, Mexico and China lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled. More Info »

Water and the environment:

The disregard for water resources in industrialized countries impacts more than humans – it causes environmental devastation.

  • Waste Overflow: Every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water sources. This not only negatively impacts the environment but also harms the health of surrounding communities. More Info »
  • Polluted Oceans: Death and disease caused by polluted coastal waters costs the global economy $12.8 billion a year. More Info »
  • Uninhabitable Rivers: Today, 40% of America’s rivers and 46% of America’s lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life. More Info »

Water solutions:

The good news is that there are great organizations working on solutions and new tools that empower people to do their part to address the water crisis.

  • Building Wells: Organizations like Water.org and charity: water are leading the charge in bringing fresh water to communities in the developing world.
  • Technology for Good: Do you want to measure how much water it took to make your favorite foods? There’s an app for that. More Info »
  • Conservation Starts at Home: The average person uses 465 liters of water per day. Find out how much you use and challenge your readers to do that same. More Info »
  • Keeping Rivers Clean: We can all take small steps to help keep pollution out of our rivers and streams, like correctly disposing of household wastes. More Info »
  • Drop the Bottle: Communities around the world are taking steps to reduce water bottle waste by eliminating bottled water.More Info »

What I do to conserve water at my house:

1. Use the dishwasher and use the dishpan or a big pot when I don’t use the dishwasher. Fill it up, squirt little of the non-toxic plant based dish washing liquid and wash. Drain the water outside, in the garden. Fill it up again, and rinse. Repeat if necessary. Being that detergent is mild and is plant based, watering the garden does not harm the plants and I don’t need to rinse the dishes repeatedly.

2. Try to take military five minute showers. I have low flow shower heads with chlorine filters. And even with low flow shower heads, I can usually take showers in less than ten minutes. And I wash the walls and tub right after a shower when they are wet so that I don’t have to use extra water to clean the shower when I’m out of the shower.

3. Lower the water heater thermostat. Lowering the thermostat not only lowers my energy bill, but it also lowers my cold water usage, which means, my water filters get less usage, saving me money. (water filters are attached to cold water only under the kitchen sink)

4. Water saving Toilet Tanks were already in the house when we moved in so we didn’t have to do anything to these fixtures. But oh boy, when I come across a regular one outside my home, I am shocked at how much water it wastes! So I am very lucky that all my toilets are already water saving tanks.

5. Feng Shui says “leaky faucets makes money to leak out of the house so fix leaky faucets” and that sounds like a no-brainer to me. If water leaks, you are wasting valuable resources and your water bill will be higher. Plain and simple. So fix any leaks.

6. Collect Rain Water I don’t have a rain barrel but I do have a huge pot outside that collects water and I use it to water the garden in the summer. I probably should buy a rain barrel but the contraption I have works just fine….for now.

7. Turn off the water when brushing teeth or shaving. Turning off the water while shaving and brushing your teeth saves 8 gallons of water a day.

7. I have a filtration system for drinking water so I never buy water bottles. I have a collection of stainless water bottles and I carry water in reusable water bottles everywhere.

So sign a petition by clicking the badge on the right upper hand side.

Donate $25 to help one person to drink clean water rest of his/her life.

Watch this video with Matt Damon and Water.Org.