Today is Blog Action Day, and the topic everyone is discussing is good ol’ water.
Conserving and reusing water is essential. While the oceans are large and the rain seems plentiful (especially here in Oregon), water is not a never ending resource.
Water is a huge issue. According to Water.org:
- Nearly one billion people – about one in eight – lack access to clean water every single day.
- More than 3.5 million people die each year from water-related disease; 84 percent are children. Nearly all deaths, 98%, occur in the developing world.
- Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours.
BUT that’s in developing countries right? So what’s the big deal if you live in the United States? When I hear people complain about water issues, they’re usually talking about other places. Places we aren’t. However, water is an issue in the USA.
Water issues affect everyone. From plastic water bottle waste to water pollution that’s killing off marine life to land being destroyed in the name of bottled water to the insane cost of water here in the U.S. – water issues do affect us. For example…
According to Food & Water Watch each year we fall more than $20 billion short of what is needed to maintain our public water and sewage systems. That’s the main reason Food & Water Watch has launched a campaign to Renew America’s Water. The campaign asks Congress to establish a dedicated source of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. Right now funds that are supposed to maintain our wastewater infrastructure r equals just enough to cover 18% of what is actually needed. Even if all families conserved water diligently it wouldn’t save enough money, not without major industry reform as well.
According to Grinning Planet, “40% of America’s rivers are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life.” Lakes fare even worse with a full 46% being too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life. Too bad since healthy rivers and lakes help reduce the impact of global warming. Additionally, Grinning Planet notes that 80% of the pollution in seas and oceans comes from land-based activities.
American Rivers notes that water pollution threats to U.S rivers are very human based and we could prevent these threats which include:
- Polluted runoff from streets, parking lots and neighborhood lawns.
- Runoff from non-organic farms that include pesticides, toxic fertilizers and animal waste.
- Runoff from U.S. homes.
- Livestock damage.
- Logging and mining operations.
Overuse of water here in the United States will be our undoing if we fail to conserve. We’re not as safe and secure as we think. According to the EPA, the insane demand for water in the United States (typical U.S. residents use 150 gallons of water per day) means we end up needing to build more dams that generate major pollution, dig more wells and make serious water withdrawals from our natural water bodies.
Overuse of water also results in significant energy waste. For example, even just obtaining and treating cold water requires energy which in turn increases the negative effects of climate change. Right now, American public water supply and treatment facilities consume 56 billion kilowatt-hours+ annually, which is enough energy to power over 5 million homes for an entire year.
The United States does have water problems, but luckily there’s plenty you can do to help create change.
Image #1©frank mckenna via Unsplash / Image #2©Hannu Keski-Hakuni via Unsplash