Another year and another United Nations World Water Day is in the books. But we don’t think you should put water out of your mind for the next 11 months. The UN compiled an extensive document titled the World Water Development Report on Water and Energy and published it on March 22, 2014. We found some of the facts and figures contained within the document worth sharing.
Facts & Figures
- Hydroelectricity is the largest renewable source for power generation with a share of around 16% (ahead of nuclear and behind natural gas).
- Most of the water used for hydropower generation is returned to the river, although some evaporates and there are important impacts on timing and quality of streamflows.
- For developing countries alone $103 billion per year are required to finance water, sanitation and wastewater treatment through 2015.
- Waterborne transit is one of the most energy efficient. Inland towing barges are more than 3 times more energy efficient than road trucks and 40% more efficient than rail.
- Around 18 billion cubic metres of freshwater resources are contaminated by fossil fuel production annually.
The World Wildlife Fund and WaterFootprint.org created a great infographic showing the current state of freshwater resources and how they are used around the world. Take a look.
But What Can One Person Do?
One person, or one household, can do a lot to preserve our freshwater reserves.
- Use your dishwasher only for full loads.
- Tighten or plug leaking joints in water pipes.
- Don’t let water run while washing your hands, brushing teeth, shaving, etc…
- Hands-free faucets are widely available. Invest!
- Install rainwater reservoirs to catch and reuse “grey” water whenever possible.
- Or go a step further and build a rain garden
- Shorten your showers and install low flow showerheads.
- Invest in Energy Star appliances.
- Cut down on your beef consumption – yes really (See the infographic above).
- Purchase an ultra low flush toilet (6 litres per flush vs. 18 litres with a conventional toilet).
- If you can’t do this, check your existing toilet for leaks by placing a few drops of food colouring in the upper tank. Patch the leak.
- Clean the car using a pail of water, not running the hose.
- Soak pots and pans instead of running water over them.
- When you give your pet fresh water, use the old water to water house plants.