In 1993 on March 22, the UN officially declared World Water Day an international holiday.
World Water Day is all about taking some time to reflect on the importance of water. It's a day dedicated to advocacy and to supporting sustainable management of this precious resource.
We all know clean water isn't easily accessible to everyone around the world, and even when it is, it is a resource that needs protecting.
The facts of water scarcity in our world can be scary.
Here are some interesting facts ~
Only 2.5% of the total water on the planet is fresh water.
80% of the world's water pollution is due to sewage contamination.
15 million children under the age of 5 die every year from waterborne illnesses.
In America, 40% of rivers and 46% of lakes are polluted and unsuitable for swimming, fishing, or other activities.
Every year, more people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, which include war.
While this is really daunting information, it's important to be aware of what we're up against. Only then, can we take proper action toward resolving it. It's not always easy to stand up and to have hope for change, but there is reason to hope, and there are reasons to be inspired. Here are some stories that inspire us.
In Arizona, Brad Lancaster is a permaculturist who is totally changing the water game in his neighborhood and town. As we all know, Arizona has a very dry climate and water scarcity is certainly a reality for those who live there.
Brad Lancaster has addressed this by focusing on effective ways to harvest water (or making the most out of the water that is available). By understanding the role of on-site resources like sun, water, wind, shade, and more, he educates others on how they can make the most of their water resources and transform arid landscapes into small oases.
He utilizes gray water from his house to water plants in his garden that are able to take in this water and filter it without being harmed. He's proposed alternatives to city planning that better utilize the water in the area. For example, he found that by planting along sidewalks, the plants could utilize rain water before it ran off and into the sewers, only to be carried away, and if he used fruit trees, it also provided a much needed resource of food for those living in the area.
There are many other examples like these. When we better understand the problem and when we're willing to be creative, we can often come up with solutions that serve multiple purposes. In the desert, there have been many who utilize berms, a raised bank or terrace, to catch water as it falls down a hill. By doing so, the water is captured and utilized before it has a chance to leave the system. Landscapes have been transformed by using this method, and I've personally seen it happen in my own community.
Of course, utilizing water is one thing and sanitizing or filtering water is another. It is easy to hear of stories that highlight the problem, but it is also important to remember that there are stories that highlight the solution.
If you'd like to learn more about the solution, click here. This website about World Water Day has some great resources, provides helpful information, and highlights the ways you can get involved.