Author Fran Southgate
I don’t know about you but one of the first things I do when I wake up is turn the tap on – whether its to take a shower or to slap cold water in my face to chase away the sleep, water helps me start my day. Water which flows freely and cleanly from any tap. I’m sure I’m not the only one?
But when is the last time you stopped to think about what a privilege water is, and how important a resource it is? This liquid is so precious that without it over 98% of life on earth would die. More than 40% of the world’s species live in wetlands which cover less than 1% of the earth’s surface. Did you know that about 60% of your body weight is made up of water? Amazing stuff water isn’t it?
However, of all the freshwater in the world, only 0.01% of it is available to all the human and other life on earth to use. Yet on a daily basis we literally flush it down the loo! Despite the fact that it appears to have been raining all summer, people are surprised to hear that in Sussex, the amount of water we use per person means we are as water stressed an area as Morocco! We take it for granted so much, we waste it in inordinate quantities, and by proxy we use up the water which would otherwise support natural wetlands.
Its not even just by directly flushing it that we use water. Have you ever thought about how much water (and energy) it takes to make that packet of crisps you’re eating? Or the apple you bought from the supermarket? I’d recommend taking a look at www.waterfootprint.org – apparently my car ‘cost’ 400 000 litres of water even before I filled the windscreen wash.
So is this too big a problem for little ole me to do anything about, I hear you cry!? Well no. The population of Sussex is over one million, so if every person uses one litre less of water a day then that’s ooh – quite a lot of litres of water saved every year (I’m an ecologist not a mathematician!). So maybe next time you turn that tap on, just have a think about how lucky you are.