World Water Day is the perfect time to contemplate this most important resource (after air) —and how growing shortages and lack of access worldwide will play out economically for manufacturers, retailers, governments, and more. How you can conserve to help the planet—and your business.
Today, March 22, 2011, is World Water Day (WWD), a perfect time to contemplate this most important resource (after air) —and how growing shortages and lack of access worldwide will play out economically for manufacturers, retailers, governments, and more. Earlier this month at Natural Products Expo West, I had the honor of moderating an education session called Water is the New Gold. Here’s what I learned.
* A mere 0.75 percent of the world’s water is consumable. China and India have 30 percent of the world’s population but only 10 percent of the water supply.
* In nations around the world, an average of 70 percent of the water supply goes toward agriculture. The majority of United States’ 41 percent goes to irrigation.
*Organic farming methods can help conserve water by maintaining healthier soil that retains water better. They also do not pollute groundwater with runoff from chemical pesticides.
* One in two people now live in cities. In developing nations, the urban challenge is managing water and solid waste, which is growing threat to health and the environment.
* Lack of access to clean water is not only a human rights issue, it’s a women’s issue in particular: Women and girls in developing nations can spend two to three hours daily collecting water, which prevents them from going to school and more.
* Already, privatization of water in drought-prone nations has provoked violence, as with riots in Bolivia a decade ago. This kind of grim scenario is likely to become more common.
At home: Invest (minimally) in efficient showerheads and faucet aerators, low-flow toilets as you can. Shorten showers, treat baths as luxuries. Run the dishwasher only when full. Install drip irrigation on outdoor landscaping and gardens; water early or late.
At work: Ask if any water-efficiency measures have been taken; if not, get vocal and find colleagues who would support this. Along the many water-conservation practices in place at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, their hybrid condensers (used for refrigeration) alone save up to 75 percent over water cooler systems, plus are cheaper to operate and less polluting, F&E engineering expert Steve Hagen told the Expo session.