world water day

Monday is World Water Day. I’m honoring the day by watching Flow, participating in a World Water Day Webinar (organized by New American Dream), and sponsoring a friend in the Tap Project Water Walk (Sunday 3/22 in Battery Park).

What would life be like without fresh water?

I learned this weekend while in a workshop on permaculture (led by Jude Hobbs) that if 1 gallon of water represented all of the fresh (non-salt) water on the planet, only 1 teaspoon of that would be potable. I also learned that people don’t own the water they use, municipalities and corporations do. Here are some more eye-opening facts:

  • 1.5 billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water
  • 3.6 million people die each year from water-related disease
  • 43% of water-related deaths are due to diarrhea
  • 84% of water-related deaths are in children ages 0 – 14


Water is one of our most precious resources. Civilization sprang from water-wealthy lands. Water is the source of life and life on earth cannot be supported without it.

What can you do to conserve water?

  • Take short showers (or shower with a friend!)
  • Make sure you have a low-flow shower head
  • While you’re waiting for shower water to warm, catch the water in a bucket and use it to water plants or hand wash clothes
  • Let the laundry pile up – only wash full loads
  • Don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth or wash your hands
  • Use the dishwasher (no pre-rinsing necessary!) or find creative ways to conserve when hand washing dishes (like using a tub or bucket)
  • If you have a garden, water at night or early in the morning to optimize absorption and prevent evaporation
  • Implement grey water or rain catchment systems for gardening
  • It’s likely that any new product (and the packaging) you purchase required water in its manufacturing – buying less or buying used conserves not just water but many other resources as well

Find more ways to conserve water

Selected water-related reading

The Water Atlas: A Unique Visual Analysis of the
World’s Most Critical Resource
by Robin Clarke and Jannet King

Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit by Vandana Shiva

Water Consciousness by Tara Lohan (Editor)

Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the
Coming Battle for the Right to Water
by Maude Barlow

Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and
Why We Bought It
by Elizabeth Royte

When the Rivers Run Dry: Water — The Defining
Crisis of the Twenty-first Century
by Fred Pearce

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