World Water Day: Water is essential for life

If water is a resource we depend on then it’s important to pay attention to how we use it, right? Do you ever think about how much water is used to produce food? Think about the water used to help fields of corn grow and that corn is used to feed cattle. The water footprint of beef is particularly shocking, consuming anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 gallons of water per pound.

The United Nations’ (UN) World Water Day is held on March 22 each year. Each year has a theme and this year its theme is —water and food security. Water is key to food security. Crops and livestock need water to grow.

There are over 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050. This means that 70% more food will be needed, up to 100% in developing countries. In rural Sub-Saharan Africa millions of people share their domestic water sources with animals or rely on unprotected wells that are breeding grounds for pathogens.

Drought ranks as the single most common cause of severe food shortages in developing countries. Drought caused more deaths during the last century than any other natural disaster, and Asia and Africa rank first among continents in the number of people directly affected.

How can we protect this our water resource?

Well, first people need to be more aware of the urgency in protecting water resources. Then people overall need to be more willing to reuse/recycle water, especially when it comes to agriculture.
Conservation agriculture is a farming practice that makes best use of available water, increases the resistance of plants to droughts and at the same time contributes to improving both the quantity and quality of groundwater and rivers.

Paying closer attention to our community watersheds is also an important and yet feasible way to protect water resources. Everyone lives within a watershed, unless you live on the top of a mountain or exactly on the edge of a ridge, that is. A watershed can be defined as an area of land that drains down slope until it reaches a common point.

So I did some research to find the watershed I live in here in Delaware. Delaware had multiple watersheds, but one is much larger than the others and it cuts diagonally down the state from North to South. I found that in Delaware there are many stream flows calculated regularly and the majority of them are showing water levels below normal range. A percentile less than 25 is considered below normal and is characterized by an orange dot. It’s not surprising the levels are lower since we did not get much snow this winter. Hopefully now that is is Spring we will get some much needed rain.

I grew up having well water, my parents and grandparents still live in homes with wells. But now my family and I pay Artesian for their water services. With the well water sometimes you could see minerals in the water, so we used a water filter for drinking purposes. With the Artesian what I notice is the smell of chlorine. Chloride may adversely affect the taste, odor or color of drinking water, but does not pose any known health risk. Paying attention to the water you are drinking is important and can help save lives. The EPA has an “Adopt Your Watershed” program to help communities get more involved the maintenance of their watersheds.

And I was able to find Delaware specific information on drinking water public supply or well. It’s so interesting all that is a your fingertips and yet I was so unaware.

So just in hearing that today is World Water Day I was inspired to find out more information about the water I drink and the watersheds nearby. Being educated and aware can make a huge difference on how you act.

Here is some interesting trivia from the Sierra Club:

Question: How much water does it take to produce one glass of orange juice?

A) About 120 gallons.

B) About 45 gallons.

C) I’m chewing on so much pulp that I’m pretty sure there’s no liquid in my OJ.

Answer: The correct answer is B, 45 gallons. A glass of orange juice not only uses a lot of water, but it also has a carbon footprint larger than bottled water.

To get your morning juice fix while taking it easy on the environment, try juicing the vegetables in your own garden. Compost the pulp or add it to muffins or breads.

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