March 22nd is World Water Day. With a continued rise in population and technology, water use and demand continue to increase even though supplies are limited. We cannot continue to waste our natural resources, because water already has a crucial impacts on alleviating poverty throughout the world. Right now, 768 million people lack access to strong water sources and 2.5 billion people have no decent sanitation options. Sadly, 30,000 deaths occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions. Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence (including war).
Reduce your energy usage. Water is required to produce nearly all forms of energy, so reducing our energy use will reduce our water use. Energy is needed at all stages of water extraction, treatment and distribution. Currently there are 1.3 billion people worldwide who do not even have access to electricity.
Reduce water waste. Consider what you can do at home to reduce water waste and utilize rain water. From shutting off the water while brushing your teeth, to taking faster showers, lowering water pressure in your home, or even utilizing rain water, there are many ways we can reduce our daily water usage. Need some ideas? You’ll find 49 tips for reducing water use indoors here.
Encourage the company you work for to reduce electricity use and water waste. Every individual’s contributions will make a difference, and even bigger changes will come when businesses make conservation a priority.
Learn more about the impact of wasting water. If we all gain a better understanding between the water and energy, as well as their effects on each other, we may also better understand the importance of reducing inefficiencies.
Encourage stronger legislation. The government can take steps to help water conservation efforts. We need both innovative and pragmatic national policies to mandate a more efficient and cost effective oversight of water and energy use. Contact your local officials to let them know that this cause matters to you, and to all of us.
Support companies and brands that reduce energy use, water waste and/or contribute to the cause. Read before you buy. If you find yourself choosing between two brands, consider the one that might be helping to conserve our natural resources. IBM is doing it. Levi Strauss is doing it too. Beverage companies from the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group to the Coca Cola Co. to MillerCoors are pledging their efforts to water conservation. Are you favorite brands making conservation a priority?
- If you are a coffee drinker, consider purchasing your coffee from TOMS. (Yes, the maker of those buy one, give one shoes.) They are doing the same with their coffee as they do with their shoes, and for every bag of coffee you purchase, TOMS will give one week of clean water to a person on need, through their partnership with Water for People.
- If you already own a coffee maker that uses those k-cups, consider purchasing the Green Mountain brand. This is a conundrum because those k-cups are producing massive amounts of waste. But if you already have one, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. just announced a commitment of $11 million to support leading nonprofit organizations working domestically and internationally to promote water security. The Company will also continue to focus on processes and products that reduce the Company’s water footprint and help consumers save water.
Donate your time, your money, or your birthday. There are several amazing causes whose mission it is to conserve water or to bring water to people in developing nations. If you want to help, consider: charity: water, the Global Water Initiative (GWI), Raise-the-River, or American Rivers, just to name a few. Through charity: water, you can pledge your birthday to the cause and ask that donations be given to the organization in lieu of gifts.