March 22 is World Water Day. Nearly 25 years ago, the United Nations recommended an international observance of water in effort to raise awareness of our dependence on this critical resource. Each year this campaign for awareness adopts a different theme. We here at DripWorks find this year’s theme very appropriate for our own 25th year in the irrigation business because the theme this year is “Water and Jobs.” The goal this year is to shine a spotlight on the labor rights and practices of workers in all water-related industries worldwide.
At the current rate of population growth in the world, agriculture is having a hard time producing the food the world needs with the fresh water available. In addition to securing sustainable, efficient, and equitable management of scarce water resources, governments locally and around the world need to consider the working conditions of those who are responsible for managing these demands. We all need to inspire political and community action to encourage greater global understanding of the need for more responsible water use, conservation and gratitude towards the people who manage these goals.
The UN is concerned about three primary gaps in groundwater management which have enormous implications for the sustainable development of water:
- Increased degradation of groundwater through pollution.
- Lack of public and corporate awareness about the sustainable use and economic importance of our groundwater resources
- Impact of not resolving groundwater supply and demand management which is at a critical stage right now.
Water and energy are linked. The generation of energy uses copious amounts of water resources for producing hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy. Pumping, transporting, and treating the water sent to its customers by municipalities uses over 8% of the global energy generation. Attention has to be paid to identifying and instituting best practices in making the energy industry an efficient green industry.
Almost a billion people around the world don’t have safe drinking water. Government policies (or lack of them) and governments at war currently curtail or cut off water supply or access to purification systems for many. We only need to read the headlines or watch the news to have a good idea where in the world people must resort to sources of water with a high health risk.
World Water Day is a serious subject these days with either droughts or floods in the headlines. At home, we can all do our part to conserve water in our landscape by using xeriscape practices and responsible water use around the home. Here are some simple ways you can reduce your own water consumption:
- Decrease the size of your lawn or eliminate it altogether. This is a great way to save water and money while maintaining a beautiful, eye appealing yard. Bonus: No more mowing or storing the lawnmower.
- Drip irrigation supports a varied landscape. Set your timers to water early in the day to lessen the rate of evaporation.
- Choose drought tolerant/native shrubs and trees when possible. Always mulch the ground around the base of your plantings.
- Install a rain catchment system to capture water when it rains to be used later.
- Use your washing machine/dishwasher only when you have a full load. Buy “Energy Star” appliances that use less water and energy.
- Get a low flow “Energy Star” toilet to cut you water usage in half. Even then you can help further by putting a brick or a plastic bottle filled with sand in the toilet tank to save even more water. Put some food coloring in the toilet tank to check for leaks. If the color seeps out into the toilet, you might need a new plunger mechanism.
- Use your water meter to check for leaks. When all of your water usage is off, the meter should not be running. If it is, you have some investigating to do.
- 8) Install water saving low flow shower heads. These are inexpensive and easy to install. A long shower can use 5-10 gallons per minute. Low flow heads can get it down to 2.5 gpm.
- All of your indoor faucets should have little aerators installed. These will save a lot of water and are super inexpensive.
- To get hot water faster, insulate your hot water pipes. Save water and pumping energy. Use a bucket to capture your shower water while you wait for it to heat up. Use the bucket stores to water house plants or to “flush” the toilet with a quick pour directly into the bowl.
Saving water at home is easy. Be conscientious. Most of the water usage indoors is in the bathrooms. Low flow toilets will save you 2 gallons each time you flush. Currently the average person uses 70 gallons per day. You could easily save one third of this with just a little effort. Multiply that number by the number of people in your home and the figures start to add up. About 20,000 – 40,000 gallons can be easily saved each year, by you and your family!