Saturday, March 22, 2014

World Water Day 2014 -- March 22

Welcome to the World Water Day of 2014: This year’s theme is Water & Energy.
By the Way: Earth Day is coming in a month, April 22!!!
Look for Seminar information.
See the 2011 SustainZine post related to World Water Day. Some info is borrowed here.
World Water Day
The 44th World Water Day (March 22, 2014):
  World Water Day can easily flooded past us without most of us hearing a drop about it.!:-(  And why is that, you may be wondering? Or not… The problem with this, and most things sustainability related, is where to start.  And how do we put the critical sustainability issue of water onto our daily radar screen.

Water, Water, Everywhere…
  Water, so critical to life can be devastating in its absence. It can be devastating in abundance. Australia, plagued with decades of drought, finally got rain in 2011: it had an area flooded the size of Germany and France combined!  This was followed in February with Cyclone Yasi in the northeast. (A cyclone is the Pacific version of a hurricane… and, yes, they went through the alphabet to get to Y.) We know a lot about hurricanes for two years starting in 2004 giving us in Florida 3 or 4 per year including Katrina that also hit New Orleans.
  Then in the Winter of 2013-2014 we got snow, and more snow (let’s call that a polar vortex). In the meantime Europe (England) got drowned in rain.
But the quiet pain associated with water is very easily preventable with very little money. More than 1 billion of our world’s 6.9B population have inadequate drinking water with an additional 1B having inadequate sanitation. The result is that more than 3.5 million people die each year because of easily preventable water-related diseases (World Health Organization at  Approximately half of the world’s hospital beds are taken by water and hygiene-related diseases (  [This should be updated, it has improved since 2011.]

The Nexus of Energy with Water, Paper, Plastic and Transportation.
  Few people realize how much water it takes to produce energy. How much water to power a light bulb, for example? To power a 60 watt bulb 12 hours per day for a year? How about 3,000 to 6,000, depending on the power source, it could be more or less. See here.
  The water doesn't go away, per se. Water might be taken in upstream, used to produce steam and power turbines and then released downstream.  Give a look at the Nexus sections in the outline on the last page of Climate Changes and Sustainability, a WikiBook:

Power and the Nexus of Energy, Water, Paper, Plastic, etc. are discussed in Wikipdedia:

World Water Day
  World Water Day was initiated to try to solve health and wellness problems around the world where people have poor water and sanitation. The UN has a 10 year program to attempt to overcome the pain and death associated with inadequate water by 2015. Progress has been made, but it is slow.
WATER STATS: Most of the earth’s surface (70%+) is water. Yet only about 2.5% is freshwater. (The salt in oceans and some lakes make it unusable for drinking, agriculture, etc. without expensive desalinization processing.) Of the world’s freshwater 68.7% is in ice caps and glaciers, 30.1% is underground, ~1% is other, and barely 0.3% is fresh surface water! That’s about 0.009% of our total is fresh surface water. Freshwater is lakes (87%), swamps (11%) and rivers (2%). So as we divert and consume the fresh water available to us – taking from rivers and aquifers – the impacts become ever greater as rivers dry and ancient aquifers are depleted.
This year the theme is Water & Energy. Most people don’t realize the Nexus of Water and Energy.

The Water Bubble and Water Wars
  The water bubble may be coming faster than we originally thought... Water sources, especially the invisible underwater aquifers are being depleted.  This will show in increased prices for water, water shortages and food shortages/prices (Marks, 2009). “We're fast draining the fresh water resources our farms rely on, warns Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute” (George, 2011). Our own Ogallala Aquifer in the high plans of the US (underground aquifer from Texas through Wyoming) will be depleted in about 25 years. (See

  Water wars and water conflicts are expected to increase dramatically. Counties (and states) that are at the headwaters of rivers can take all the water and leave nothing for the cities, farmers and fishermen below. 
  Worst case, and a horrible example, is the Aral Sea. What used to be the world’s 4th largest lake is now mostly dry, highly salty and toxically polluted. Russia has been consuming the water that would have run downstream (and through) the former USSR state of Kazakhstan. (See and the following news video: at Russia Today.)
  The truth of the matter is... that water matters!  …
  Even in Florida where we are surrounded by H2O.

What can we do?
  Basically, we need to become more informed about the sustainability impact of all we say and do. We need to become more informed consumers of water. Maybe compute our water footprint. Please fill out the H2O Footprint calculator. We need to start conserving more water, more energy and more resource. (Recycling actually saves huge amounts of energy and water.)
 1)      Compute your water footprint (and take actions to reduce it):
a.       H2O Footprint: (Water footprint calculator.)
c.       Water footprint of food, products, etc.:

2)      The average American uses 2,000 gallons per day, more than twice the global average when all things are considered. (Most of the statistics will show only about 1,000 gpd, but they don’t include food, energy, etc.)
3)      For Florida-centric details & water-saving tips, please visit: and
4)      References and links below.
Look for information about Earth Day 2014 coming up on Tuesday April 22.

Thanks for listening, reading, and thinking about sustainability.

Let’s be good stewards of our God-given resources: water and more.

Some References
George, L. (2011, Feb. 2) Earth economist: The food bubble is about to burst . New Scientist. Retrieved from:
Marks, S. J. (2009). Aqua shock: The water crisis in America. NY, NY: Bloomberg Press.
Some Links:
·         Official site:

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