Today is World Water Day. Let’s talk Water.
You hear about water shortages, droughts, people dying because they dont have access to clean drinking water every day in the media. You see videos like these, telling you what’s going to happen if we continue using water at the rate at which we are, today:
I remember the time when Chennai was going through a water crisis. We were forced to store up water in buckets and use the bare minimum amount of water we could, there were days when we, our relatives and friends nearly went without any water to drink. It wasn’t too bad, we managed to drink enough water every day. I shudder to think of the plight of people who have not had any water to drink, today.
Did you know, 2.3 million people did not have have for at least one month last year, and more people are going to suffer the same this year?
Where IS all the water going? Where are we using it up?
The United Nations brought out a video, just about a minute long, to commemorate the World Water Day 2015. I think it pretty much sums up the biggest chunks of our water usage. Check it out:
First of all, each of us needs water, for drinking, for cooking and for bathing and personal hygiene.
A normal vegetarian diet in India requires, for production, 2,600 litres of water per day. Compare that to the diet eaten by the average American, which needs 5,000 litres of water a day! Have you heard of something called virtual water content? Rather than just the amount of water that you can see in something, virtual water content refers to the amount of water that went into producing something that you use. The virtual water content of 1kg of orange is just 500L, 1kg of rice, 2,500L; 1kg of chicken meat, 3,900L and 1kg of beef, an amazing 16,000L! The amount of water needed to make one hamburger is 2,400 L.
Talking about food, check this out: Can you guess how much of the water used by the US this year was used to produce meat? A whopping 30%! That’s nearly one-third of the entire amount of water used in the country. A further 15% was used just to produce sugar. Think of the impact we are creating on this planet, having shifted from a fruit-based diet to a grain-based diet, and the impact we are now making, shifting from a grain-based diet to processed food, dairy and meat-based diet! Imagine the amount of water you could save, just by giving up meat and sugar, not to mention the number of lives saved from heart disease, strokes and many other diseases.
Hey, what about bottled water? Do you know how much water it took to manufacture and transport that one-litre bottle of water sitting on your desk right now? Here are the figures:
- 26.88 kilograms of water
- One litre of fossil fuel
- And 562 grams of Greenhouse Gas emission!
What about the other things we use, apart from food? Did you know one sheet of paper takes 10 litres of water to manufacture? It takes 91 litres of water to manufacture 500g of plastic.
From 1996 to 2005, every year, we have used 2,320,000,000,000,000 litres of water.
Too much to even imagine, right? And yeah, that’s for the entire world’s population, which is huge. How much water did YOU use today? Check out this one and half minute video to get an idea of how much that actually was:
It helps have a visual of what these numbers actually look like, doesn’t it?
Believe when I tell you, you have the solution to Global Water Scarcity in your hands. The food you eat, the products you buy, the life you lead… every small detail goes a long way in deciding how many people get access to water today because of you.
Choose a fruit over a kabab.
Choose a juice over a soft drink.
Choose to walk to the shop instead of taking the car out.
Fix that leaking tap today.
You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference that can make to a person who has not had a drop of water to drink today.
You may not see the results of doing this today. However, ten years from today, when you read the news that the number of people who died of thirst has reduced by more than half, you will have a contented smile on your face, knowing that you helped. Now, THAT is worth it.