Water- A precious resource that is taken for granted

By Kimani Wiseman

There is an expression that says that money makes the world go around, water also makes the world go around. Seventy one percent of the earth’s surface is covered in water. Without water, life on planet earth would not exist. Humans need 6-8 glasses of clean drinking water daily, plants need water during photosynthesis and to absorb nutrients from the soil. Animals need water for survival and also humans use water for other domestic purposes for example cooking, bathing, washing, etc.

Although water makes the world go around, it is taken for granted. Humans continue to burn fossil fuels and other activities which is causing an acceleration of climate change. Droughts are increasing in a lot of countries globally as a result of climate change. According to a BBC news article on January 18th 2014, the article states that the governor of California Jerry Brown had declared a state wide drought, urging residents to conserve water in what could be the state’s driest year on record.

In 2014, the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) had embarked on a water rationing programme, after indicating that the main reservoir had approximately six weeks of water left. St.vincent and the Grenadines would have experienced one of the worse droughts in living memory during the dry season in 2020. A lot of farmers would have lost a lot of crops and many persons would recall that a water rationing programme was implemented to conserve water. The United Nations climate science panel, the IPCC, said in a 2014 report that for every degree Celsius of global warming, about seven percent of the world’s population would see a drop of at least 20 percent in renewable water resources. Can you envision what would happen to the world’s water resources if climate change gets worse?

Trees play a major role in the quality of water we use. They prevent soil from eroding into our water ways. However, deforestation is high in a lot of countries globally. In August 2017 and July 2018, about 7,900 sq km (3,050 sq miles) of the Amazon Rainforest was destroyed from illegal logging, an area roughly five times the size of London. According to the United Nations, 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of Forest are lost each year around the world.

Water pollution is in a crisis globally. Humans continue to litter in the streams and in the ocean. The ocean is being used as a “landfill”. Eight million tonnes of plastic is already in the world’s ocean. Other pollutants that are making water unsafe for drinking are bad agricultural practices such as chemicals used in agriculture, synthetic fertilizers, and untreated sewage. The World Health Organization published an article on February 7th 2018. The article states that 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. The article further went on to state that contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 502000 diarrhoeal deaths each year. 

Water is wasted at our workplace and at schools. Sometimes pipes are left running in the bathroom at our workplace and at some schools. We even waste water in our homes. There are some persons when they are taking a shower, they would spend a very long time in the bath and even when they are washing dishes, the pipe is left running all the time until when they are finish. 

Here are some tips for water conservation and water quality:

  • Reduce your carbon foot print which would help to alleviate against climate change and droughts.
  • Avoid deforestation and plant trees in areas where trees are removed.
  • Practice organic farming which would cause a reduction of chemicals and synthetic fertilizers from reaching in the catchment area.
  • Avoid taking an eternity shower.
  • Dispose your garbage properly and do not throw garbage in any stream.
  • Close all pipes after using them.

The world’s population is at 7.7 billion and it is projected that by 2030, the population would exceed 8 billion. This rapid increase in the human population would continue to put more pressure on our water supply, hence the reason why we need to put measures in place to ensure that we have good quality water available, and to prevent our tanks from running empty. Let us cherish this precious resource called “water”, and remember you will never miss the water till the well runs dry.

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