It was reported recently that each year approximately two million people die from an inadequate amount of clean water. Eighty percent of these people are children. In Africa alone six out of ten people are without a toilet. In the United States, in India, in China, in Pakistan and in Egypt, major river systems are drying up. In Central Asia, in Canada, there are lakes that have shrunk to half their size. In this century water has been called liquid gold, the oil of the 21st century. Should we be preparing ourselves for a day in the near future when water out of our faucets is no more?
Safe drinking water is a basic human right. It is also a priority for future global development. Without water for drinking, for crops, for sanitation purposes, the resulting deaths from diarrheal diseases, cholera, typhoid fever, eventual starvation and dehydration will befall millions. The economic status quo many enjoy now will quickly disappear. While the debates rage on, problems such as excessive extraction of groundwater, irrigation using saline water, water pollution brought on by poor sewage methods and the rising energy demands continue to sound the alarm for 3.2 billion people living in agricultural areas around the globe.
It seems inconceivable that America might be on the brink of severe water shortages affecting you, me, and millions of others in the very near future. As of this year, 2022, a number of Native Reserves and Northern Towns have populations that must boil their water and that water is rationed day to day on strict schedules for basic human necessities. In areas of decreasing precipitation and rising populations, the fresh water supply is almost non existent. California alone has already experienced some of the worst droughts in recorded history. One hundred and forty five water basins are expected to be the driest ever this coming summer. As temperatures continue to reach the higher numbers more often, evaporation increases, lake river and reservoir levels decrease. Each North American citizen uses on average 80 to 100 gallons of water.
Logic dictates we use less water. Compassion compels moderation in many of us. Conscience points towards conservation and regeneration. Food production must change to ward off climate breakdown. Survival demands we surrender our misguided notion that our input, our contributions, our efforts are not needed. Taking fewer showers, checking for leaks in faucets and toilets, keeping a supply of drinking water in the fridge, not running water while cleaning vegetables, watering the lawn only when it needs it-all these small changes in our daily routines add up to large improvements in water management.
We must remember: water is a finite commodity.
We cannot forget: next to air, water is the most important element for the preservation of life.
Water is life.