Water Issues Abound Locally and Worldwide
Mary Sue Colvin,
Chairman (excerpt from KIT August, 2014)
Too much, too little, too polluted, too inaccessible. Over 1.5 billion people do not have access to clean, safe water. Almost 4 million people die each year from water-related diseases! Horrifically, a child dies of a water-born disease about every 15 seconds.
National Garden Clubs, Inc., as an organization, has been focusing on water-related issues for some time, but now we must increase our efforts to shift public perception of the value of water.
We must prompt governing bodies and companies to view clean water, not as a commodity, but as an endangered resource. Additionally, we must educate and encourage garden club members to take a more active role in addressing water issues in their communities and states.
Globe Scan and SustainAbility conducted a poll of over 1200 international experts in 80 countries concerning the global freshwater crisis. This resulted in a list of key solutions to the question, "What are the technologies or changes in behavior which show the most promise for addressing water shortages over the next 10 years?" Utilizing these keys for addressing fresh water issues, as garden club members, we can make a world of difference in our local regions because our choices do matter.
Keys to Addressing Fresh Water Issues
- Educate to change consumption and lifestyles
- Invent new water conservation technologies
- Recycle wastewater
- Improve irrigation and agricultural practices
- Appropriately price water
- Develop energy efficient desalination plants
- Improve water catchment and harvesting
- Develop and enact better policies and regulations
- Manage ecosystems in a practical, common-sense manner, i.e. communities that operate sewage treatment plants while pursuing partnerships with clean energy producers to use wastewater to fertilize algae and other biofuel crops. The crops, in turn, soak up nutrients and purify wastewater, significantly reducing pumping and treatment costs.
- Improve distribution infrastructure. Pipes burst on a regular basis in the U.S., prompting boil alerts. Sewage treatment systems regularly overflow and malfunction, causing beach closures.
- Shrink corporate water footprints
- Address pollution
National Garden Clubs, Inc. believes it is imperative that we support and undertake proactive initiatives for the protection, conservation and restoration of the quality of the Nation's coastal waters, wetlands, aquifers, watersheds, lakes, rivers and streams, through educational programs, conservation efforts, increased advocacy and partnerships with related government agencies, and state and national grassroots water coalitions.
What is a water footprint?
A water footprint of a product is the total amount of water needed to make the product - from the very first step in the process to the packaged item on the store shelf.
What are some common water footprints?
- 660 gallons of water for one cotton shirt
- 129 gallons for one pound of wheat
- 2500 to 5000 gallons for one pound of beef
- 15 gallons for one pound of lettuce
- 142 gallons for one pound of peaches
- 220 gallons for one pound of avocadoes
- 403 gallons for one pound of rice
- 2497 gallons for one pound of chocolate
- 815 gallons for one pound of chicken
- 1630 gallons for one pound of pork
Water Equals Life
And we need to take care of it. Some facts of note concerning the physical significance of water in our lives include:
- 75% of the human body is water
- 90% of human blood is water
- 70 % of the earth's surface is water
- Water comprises 70% of the Earth's surface. Land comprises only 30% of the Earth's surface.
- Of all the water on earth - 97% is contained in the oceans and seas. 2% is in ice caps.
- 1% of the earth's water is available for our use and only a small percentage of that 1% is accessible.
- Of that small percentage of accessible water 98% is used for agriculture and industry.
- Oceans and seas cover 97% of water on earth's surface.
- Ice caps account for 2% of water on earth's surface.
- 1% of earth's water is available for our use and only a minute percentage of that 1% is accessible.
NGC President Linda Nelson's Special Project for 2013 - 2015 is:
As garden clubs and as individuals we should be aware of the issues facing our water supply; not just locally, but nationwide and worldwide - and taking steps to make a difference by making wise choices in the conservation and protection of our water resources - blue gold.
For more information, contact:
Mary Sue Colvin
Making a Difference Water Chairman