As part of our Mindfulness March, we invite you to join us in being aware of how much water we use, and how desperately water is needed in other parts of the world.
Spring in Maine alternates between snowstorms and sudden warm-ups that raise river levels, send meltwater rushing down gutters, and fill potholes with puddles. The pristine Damariscotta River runs below our headquarters, and at Thompson’s Pond the water is so pure locals still harvest and store its ice in a traditional ice house every winter. And of course, all we need to do for a drink of cold, clean water is turn on the tap.
We’re so lucky to be surrounded by so much clean water.
Today, on World Water Day, we’re being mindful of what an enormous privilege clean, abundant water truly is. Over 2.8 billion people around the world live in a place with an insufficient water supply. Over 1.8 billion people all around the world—that’s one in ten people on earth!—can only get drinking water from a source contaminated with waste. Each drink they take puts them at risk for cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. At the World Economic Forum in 2015, this global water crisis was ranked as the #1 risk to society. And experts believe that global warming and accelerating climate change will only make this problem much, much worse.
World Water Day 2017 is focused on the issue of wastewater. Over 80% of wastewater generated in the world’s homes, businesses and farms flows back into nature without being treated or recycled in any way. That’s a big waste of usable water! World Water Day is prioritizing efforts to re-use wastewater in cooling systems and irrigation, and by reducing the amount and types of chemicals that can be dumped into wastewater before it is discarded. Safely managing our wastewater supplies would go a long way toward improving clean water access for many people in the world.
In honor of World Water Day, we’re being particularly mindful of our personal water usage.
The average American household uses over 400 gallons of water per day, and we can use so much less by making a few simple changes.
- Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth or wash dishes by hand.
- Replace old shower heads with newer, water efficient models, and try getting in and out a bit quicker.
- If any faucets in your house leak, call the plumber to get them fixed.
- Wait to run your washing machine or dishwasher until it is full, and choose low-flow toilets and Water Sense rated washing machines and dishwashers if you renovate or upgrade.
- Shrink the amount of your lawn that needs daily watering and only water in the early morning. Use a rain barrel to collect water for your garden and lawn.
- Support local water conservation efforts in your area.
You can also learn more about World Water Day and the worldwide water crisis at worldwaterday.org.