Blog Action Day 2010: Measuring the impact of Water use
Water is one of those things we never notice unless it’s unavailable. Sure I’ve been known brag about my hometown’s great tap water and am known to enjoy tasty beverages made from this resource, but besides the occasional outage I rarely consider it’s impact on my everyday life. Yet for millions of people, access to clean, safe drinking water is not available, even if the solutions to this basic Human Right are simple.
As long as Water is a finite resource with limited availability to many, we should conserve this natural resource while increasing access to those who deserve our help. When I was writing my Master’s thesis on Energy Conservation (and last year’s Blog Action Day post), I had water in mind as well because it is another resource subject to increasing demand and inefficient use we take for granted in the United States. Among my findings were that consumers were best encouraged to improve their usage of a resource when they have concrete examples of steps they can take to reduce their consumption (and the tools to measure them).
To better understand this issue, here’s a few ways to measure how we use Water everyday:
- Americans drink an average of 200 bottles of water per year, 86 percent of which will never be recycled.
- Charging an iPhone uses .5 liter of water, so for 80 million phones worldwide that’s almost 40 million liters per day. More people have access to a cellphone than a toilet.
- 3 slices of Bacon requires nearly 150 gallons of water to produce. Food production in the US usually requires massive amounts of energy and water.
It’s easy to change these behaviors once we’re able to understand them and have tools available to help us integrate any changes. Using tools like the Virtual Water app make it easy for me to measure my own water consumption, and identify areas I can conserve and increase efficient use.
As for those who lack easy access to safe water, Today’s Blog Action Day is a call to consider both how we use water and how we can expand access. Please consider signing this petition to support the UN’s efforts to bring clean water to millions and secure this Human Right
You may also want to consider pledging a few dollars towards the cause, for example Charity:Water, which can go a long way to securing access to this most vital natural resource.