Today – Friday March 22nd – is UN International World Water Day. It is a day to
recognise and address the global water crisis that we face.
Water is the most basic human right, and an essential for human
survival. Yet so many people in the world struggle to access clean water. 2.1
billion people live without safe water at home, and nearly 4 billion people
face severe water scarcity for at least one month a year – that’s around two
thirds of the global population. In many parts of the world, marginalised
groups face discrimination with regards to water access.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 is to ensure
availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, with one
of the targets being safe, equitable, and affordable access to drinking water
for all by 2030.
As the climate is changing, we could face more challenges in
terms of water access.
- Rising temperatures can lead to increased
droughts, and poorer water quality – for instance the warmth can act as an
incubator for toxic algae
- Increased intense and devastating storms can
occur, such as Cyclone Idai which has recently caused destruction in parts of
- Increased water pollution may occur as more waste
products end up in water bodies
- Agriculture uses around 70% of the world’s fresh
water; however pressures for more intensive farming can increase this in areas
- Other industries such as textiles and cotton are
putting a lot of stress on water – the Aral Sea for instance has shrunk hugely
due to cotton irrigation. A single pair of jeans can use around 7,600 litres of
- The number of water stressed areas around England
are increasing – see this
document from the Environment Agency for details
A recent study has stated that England could face water
the next 25 years. This can be especially pertinent as populations rise. At
present, we largely take water for granted, but will need to act now in order
to meet the SDG mentioned above.
What can we do?
The global water crisis is a complex and challenging issue. Acting
today, at a local level, is therefore key.
- Firstly, we can be much more efficient with the
way we use water – use only what is necessary by turning taps off, taking
- Ensure leakages are dealt with immediately, and
are regularly checked for
- Recycle correctly and aim for a circular waste
system so that nothing can make its way into waterways
- Reduce food waste, as this will help ease the
pressure on agriculture – and to get an efficient ‘crop per drop’
- Be more mindful about where your clothes come
from, buy less, shop more second hand.
As a business:
- Ensure water fittings and pipes are not leaking
on a regular basis
- Install any water-efficiency technology that can
help, such as flow controllers – these can come with a cost but will lead to efficiency
and cost savings in the long run
- Fit WCs with half flow faucets
- If there is a garden, collect rain water for
- Engage with employees and communicate the facts
- Address your whole supply chain and ensure water
efficiency initiatives are in place throughout
If you’d like more information regarding water stress or help for your business, please contact us.