Help Stop Worldwide Water Woes

Skim through the news, and the message about the future of water seems pretty grim: climate change, a growing population, and a thirst for foods, fuels and other products and services that require an increasing amount of water mean major shortages worldwide. In fact, the United Nations recently released a report that warned that by 2030, nearly half the world’s population “will be living in areas of acute water shortage.” There are already more than a billion people worldwide who don’t have access to clean water.

March 22 is World Water Day, a campaign sponsored by the United Nations to bring attention to the importance of clean, fresh water for all, and for the need of sustainable management of freshwater resources. Organizations around the world have planned activities throughout next week to bring attention to water issues.

This focus on water is a great opportunity to explore water issues with your children, students, friends or co-workers. Here are a few ideas:

For children and students:

  • Brainstorm a list of what needs water to survive (people, animals, plants).
  • Have kids/students list everything they can think of that contains or uses water (soda, nuclear power plants, agriculture, canned food, etc.). Which of these uses are vital to our sustainability and survival and which are not?
  • Have kids/students list all the ways they use water every day, calculating how much water they use each day, and then comparing their use with how much water people in other countries use.
  • Have kids/students carry around a gallon jug full of water and seeing how long it takes them to use it all up (drinking, hand washing, teeth brushing, etc.). Then repeat the exercise, seeing if they can reduce the amount they use (while still maintaining proper hygiene).
  • Brainstorm all the ways that people can conserve water.
  • Learn about people taking positive action to help those who need clean water, such as Ryan Hreljac, who learned about the water crisis and, at age seven, raised money so that a well could be build in a Ugandan village. Now Ryan’s Well Foundation works in 14 countries around the world.

For friends, family and co-workers:

  • Talk to them about water issues. Share news stories, links and articles with them. Post links on your social media sites.
  • Host a screening of a great documentary focused on water, such as Flow.
  • Challenge them to a water conservation contest. Have them notice how much water they use throughout each day, and then challenge them to see how much less they can use.
  • Give them information about the impact of bottled water, and inspire them to switch to a reusable water container.

For yourself:

  • Learn more about water issues.
  • Work to reduce your own water usage.
  • Get involved with water projects in your community or worldwide.

Here are just a couple websites focused on water issues. Water for the Ages also lists a bunch of suggested books and movies, so be sure to check out those resources, too.

Water Aid (UK)

Water for the Ages

Water Partners International

Water Wise (UK)

And, if you’re a Portlander, check out the planned events for World Water Day here.

~ Marsha


One Response

  1. “Till taught by pain, men know not water’s worth.”, Lord Byron.

    Water is the source of all life on earth. Water is essential for earth itself, and for our lives, for bodily intake, and sanitation. As the veins and heart make us alive, rivers and oceans are the arteries and heart of earth. The earth consists of 70% water, and of this 2,5% is fresh water. In a global perspective this points to that fresh water is a scarcity problem.

    Water is a prerequisite for economic growth and social development and a better administration and use of water is a prerequisite for the eradication of poverty. Due to the fact that the water we have is very unevenly distributed this have been and is a strong contributor to conflicts throughout history. Scarcity of water leads to scarcity conflicts, illness and death.

    The countries that are exposed for these conflicts are where water is scarce, and they are dependent on other countries’ rivers. Only one third of development countries have access to clean water, with a result of 30000 deaths every day. 2 million people die per year of water diseases.

    A result, the water crisis could be the 6th mass distinction. One of the UN millennium goals is to reduce the amount of people without access to clean water by half within 2015. I will now examine hurdles for this goal, and solutions for humanity.

    The above is an extract from Line Løvåsens article “March 22: The International Day of Water”. If you would like to read more, please visit:

    Yours sincerely,

    Tomas Eric Nordlander
    Human Rights Defence

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