A WORLD OF WA­TER

The Chronicle - - NEWSPAPERS IN EDUCATION LIFE -

— We never know the worth of wa­ter till the well is dry. Thomas Fuller, 1732

WA­TER is an es­sen­tial el­e­ment. It is vi­tal to all life. We de­pend on it, but we take it for granted and we waste it. We ex­pect to turn on the tap and out it will come; clean, clear and plen­ti­ful.

The needs of our grow­ing world are es­ca­lat­ing and the de­mand on wa­ter is in­creas­ing.

It is im­por­tant we man­age wa­ter sup­plies more care­fully, not just for our­selves, but to main­tain healthy ecosys­tems.

Wa­ter is our most pre­cious re­source and it is so im­por­tant that we con­serve it.

Earth’s wa­ter re­sources

Al­though wa­ter is seem­ingly abun­dant, there is a real is­sue in the amount of fresh wa­ter avail­able to us.

Over 70% of our Earth’s sur­face is cov­ered by wa­ter but 97.5% of all wa­ter on Earth is salt wa­ter, leav­ing only 2.5% as fresh wa­ter

Nearly 70% of that fresh wa­ter is in the form of ice and per­ma­nent snow cover in moun­tain­ous re­gions, the Antarc­tic and Arc­tic re­gions. Most of the re­main­der is present as soil mois­ture, or lies in deep un­der­ground aquifers as ground­wa­ter not ac­ces­si­ble to hu­man use.

Less than 1% of the world’s fresh wa­ter is ac­ces­si­ble for di­rect hu­man uses. This is the wa­ter found in lakes, rivers, reser­voirs and those un­der­ground sources that are shal­low enough to be tapped at an af­ford­able cost.

Man­ag­ing our wa­ter

Wa­ter is an es­sen­tial nat­u­ral re­source. It shapes land­scapes and is vi­tal for ecosys­tems as well as hu­man well-be­ing. But wa­ter is a re­source un­der con­sid­er­able pres­sure. It is there­fore im­por­tant to es­tab­lish wa­ter smart plans.

A few ideas are: in­crease stor­age ca­pac­ity and se­cure wa­ter sup­plies; im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of wa­ter use – less waste; re­duce wa­ter pol­lu­tion and fa­cil­i­tate wa­ter re­use; safely treat and re­use waste wa­ter.

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