Water and You: Reducing Your Water-Footprint

Published: April 20th, 2009

Category: News

Many people in the environmental community are sure that we as a human race are about to face one of the greatest existential threats in history. What may cause our demise? The answer is the world’s water crisis.

Many reports have indicated that by year 2025, two thirds of the world’s population (which will be approximately six billion people) will lack potable water. The United Nations has reported on the world’s water crisis and say approximately one in five people in the developing world currently lack access to clean water.

Now you may ask, how does this affect me? If you are not one of the millions of people directly affected, then you are at least indirectly affected in one of a million ways. Because of water shortages and the redistribution of water, people are suffering. This suffering leads to desperation which in turn results in conflict. Indeed, conflicts are already occurring worldwide because of water scarcity.

These conflicts affect our national security, as well as our access to products, services, and natural resources. Although this is a huge problem in need of governmental action, you as an individual can contribute to reducing your water-footprint.

How? Reduce your use of plastics to start. Plastic products use an incredible amount of water to produce and transport. As a matter of fact, it takes approximately six times the amount of water in a bottle of water to create the bottle itself. While on the topic of bottled water, in the United States where drinkable fresh water is free and highly accessible, why not re-fill re-usable bottles with free tap water?

For those of you who would not dare drink tap water in the U.S., statistics and facts show that tap water is just as safe to drink as bottled water, and bottled water might well be nothing more than repackaged tap water. Although bottled water companies are spending millions to convince you that bottled water is better than tap water, the fact is that the bottled water industry is much less regulated overall when compared to the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of public tap water.

Not only does it take a disproportionate amount of water to produce and transport basic plastic products, but when plastic is disposed of in a landfill it takes approximately 1000 years to disintegrate and that disintegrating plastic goes into the Earth contaminating more underground water from which we derive our fresh water supply! Therefore the general individual use of plastic and its placement in the trash, verses in the recycling bin, contributes to billions of people being in water jeopardy.

In conclusion, you are affected by the world’s water crisis in one way or another. Each little individual action or inaction causes a ripple effect in the world which will ultimately influence other people as well as you. Therefore, get involved and at the very least…reduce, reuse, and recycle!

Kristianna Rodriguez, worked this past year in the Office of the Public Defender as part of her Public Interest Law Fellowship, funded by The Florida Bar Foundation, and supported by the Center for Governmental Responsibility and the Center for Career Services.