Watergeddon: The Most Important Environmental Issue of the 21st Century
Waterggedon is a term we use to describe the global water crisis currently happening. It's not just a metaphor; it's a very real and very serious issue.
2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water at home. Of those, 1.2 billion people have basic drinking water services.
As climate change continues to cause droughts and floods, that number will only increase.
What's leading us towards Waterggedon?
There are several factors that contribute to the water crisis. Firstly, there is simply not enough fresh water to go around. Less than 3% of the world's water can be used as freshwater for drinking, bathing, and irrigation; the rest is either saltwater or trapped in ice caps and glaciers. The demand for freshwater will only increase as the population continues to grow, putting even more strain on our limited supplies.
In addition to there not being enough water, to begin with, climate change is making matters worse. Droughts are becoming more common as the planet heats up. At the same time, extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods are becoming more frequent and more intense, contaminating what little fresh water we have left with sewage and chemical runoff.
What Can We Do About It?
The first step in addressing any problem is admitting that there is one. So let's start there: yes, there is a global water crisis. But it's not too late to do something about it. We can do several things to conserve water and prevent further contamination of our freshwater supplies.
At an individual level, we can start by making small changes in our daily routines. Something as simple as turning the faucet off while brushing teeth can save gallons of water daily. We can also install low-flow toilets and showerheads, use drought-tolerant plants in our gardens, and make an effort only to use as much water as we need.
At a societal level, we need to pressure our elected officials to enact policies addressing the water crisis's root causes. This includes investing in infrastructure improvements so that communities have access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities, investing in conservation efforts to protect watersheds and reduce pollution, and working towards mitigating climate change so that droughts and floods become less common.
We all need to do our part to conserve water and prevent further contamination of our freshwater supplies. We hope to prevent this catastrophe from becoming a reality by working together.