Welcome to Day 29 of #30PostsHathSept. [PLEASE READ all my other challenge posts HERE.] I hope you enjoy this installment!
Earlier this month, I urged everyone to pay closer attention to the issue of where we get our water. Many in the developed world have come to take something as life sustaining as water for granted. Many organizations meanwhile have been at work behind the scenes to assess the current status of our world water supplies and its future projections.
Water. Two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. That’s all.
NASA just yesterday confirmed the existence of intermittent flows of liquid water on Mars, and it created enough interest that the topic trended on social media. Just think…Water on another terrestrial body. Finding water anywhere outside of Earth is indeed a cause for celebration.
But why doesn’t the state of water On Earth cause as much social media interest as an extra-terrestrial planet or moon?
Those who have first-hand experienced a water crisis have seen how absolutely dependent all life on earth is to water. On average, humans are 50-60% water. At most, we can go three days without it (though children begin to sometimes show significant signs of dehydration within 24 hours).
Water has many functions.
Throughout history, water has been directly bound to life. All the various religions utilize the symbol of water for both cleansing the body as well as providing life. Water is seen as sacred.
Poets and authors utilize water as well to tell their own stories. Water can be both sustenance for life and a means of death. Ralph Waldo Emerson in his poem Water writes:
“The water understands
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
Robert Frost, in the last stanza of his poem Going For Water, in which he and a companion, after finding the well dry, go in search of water by the brook. In that last stanza, he writes,
“A note as from a single place,
A slender tinkling fall that made
Now drops that floated on the pool
Like pearls, and now a silver blade.”
Read the entire poem HERE.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit was just held this week (September 25-27). In that summit, water was one of the many topics discussed. They proposed this powerful and challenging worldwide goal.
Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
6.2 By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
6.5 By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
6.6 By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
6.a By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies
6.b Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management
Even within the developed world (and the U.S.) there is much to be done to protect our own precious water. Residents on California and some others regions in Western U.S. have already experienced significant water shortages and restrictions. While the U.S. may have one of the cleanest water supplies in the world, there have been numerous outbreaks of contaminated water in city supplies that have involved bacteria, viruses, as well as heavy metals. Natural disasters as well as human error have resulted in a number of incidences of tap water contamination in the U.S.
The Clean Water Act (officially called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act) wasn’t even law until 1972 (though a far less comprehensive version came about in 1948). The government is obligated to work with the public to reduce or eliminate pollution from agriculture run-off of nitrates and pesticides, contamination with chemicals and biological organisms, the unbalanced distribution of water across the U.S., and the decaying infrastructure of the many thousands of miles of underground water pipes (with some pipes first constructed in the 1800’s). Already, 5000 miles of pipes are repaired or replaced annually in the U.S. with projections of up to 20,000 miles of pipes per year by 2035.
Just ponder on these facts:
- 750 million people around the world lack access to clean water
- 840,000 people worldwide die each year from preventable water-related disease
- 90% of the deaths from water-related diseases occur in children under 5 years of age.
- Women & children spend 140 million hours each day collecting water for their families
- By 2025, 50% of the world’s population will live in a water-stressed region
- Two-fifths of all people who lack access to clean water live in Africa
- The current refugee crises increase the stress of finding clean access to water for even more people
And watch this video by the nonprofit organization charity:water:
Water is not only essential to our lives, but WATER IS THE SYMBOL FOR LIFE anywhere in our solar system. Greener methods of obtaining water, purifying water, and distributing water are needed. Lack of water has long been a cause of inequality and of war. We need to protect water and cherish it, as well as assure that ever living creature has enough of it, because like I said in the post I linked to in my opening paragraph, “If we’re not careful, it and so much else may indeed vanish before we know it.” Two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. That’s all.
Yet water is so powerful beyond measure and beautiful without limit.
“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” -Henry David Thoreau
[You can enjoy all the daily posts from the #30PostsHathSept bloggers HERE]