Water is life
We need to safeguard the planet's most important resource
Did you know that 95.7 per cent of the world's water makes up the oceans? And 2.5 per cent of the remaining amount is locked within the ice caps! (friendsoftheearth.uk) That means that we humans, along with the birds, bees, tigers, elephants, ants, snakes and the billions of other creatures on Earth, rely on such a tiny volume of fresh water to stay alive.
However, water isn't just used by humans for drinking - we cook and clean with it, wash in it and need it to produce everything from food to furniture. You may think that water scarcities don't happen in economically developed countries (we simply need to turn a tap and it's there!), but unless we act fast, we will all face water shortages - in Great Britain and beyond. According to the UK Environment Agency, England is set to face major water shortages by 2050 - meaning that our food and production lines will come to a grinding halt, our environment will suffer and break down, and lives will be lost.
But what causes water shortages? Climate change is one of the biggest drivers of water scarcities, as well as things we all do, many of them absentmindedly, each day. Most of us also support a number of water-thirsty industries, like cotton and unsustainable food production. We need to become water conservationists - each and every one of us.
By using less water, we can retain more in our ecosystems to help keep crucial wetland habitats full for other creatures. Saving water also helps to prevent pollution in nearby lakes, rivers and local watersheds, and it reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with treating and distributing water. So, what can we do? Try these ideas to start saving water, today.
1. Use waterless products in your day-to-day life
Funnily enough, waterless products don't require water - they include things like no-rinse sanitiser, self-foaming skin cleansers, no-rinse/towel-off face wash and shampoo, dry shampoo and spray-on cleaning products. Using these products is a great way to reduce your water usage - just make sure the products don't contain any other nasties that are bad for the planet, people or animals. Nilaqua (norinse.co.uk) is a perfect example of a waterless vegan health and hygiene brand - check out their products online!
2. Have water-efficient bathroom breaks
The bathroom is probably one of the worst places for water wastage - down the loo or sink and in the bath or shower. Here are simple ways to reduce your water use in the bathroom:
• Turn off the tap while your brush your teeth - a running tap can waste over six litres of water a minute! (wildlifetrusts.org)
• Shower don't bathe - the average-sized bath takes around 80 litres of water to fill it, whilst a shower typically uses between six and 45 litres, depending on how long you're in there for.
• Attach a cistern displacement device to your loo - displacement devices can save up to 5,000 litres of water every year; they are free from most water companies.
3. Alter your diet
Whilst eating vegan is a significant step in reducing your food-related water waste, there is still a lot more you can do. Try to consume locally and seasonally; steam your veggies instead of boiling them in water and reduce the amount of food you throw away - it takes a lot of water to produce fruit, vegetables, cereals and other foods and drinks, so once you've bought your shopping, don't waste it.
4. Keep a jug of water in the fridge
Running the tap until it is cold enough for drinking, wastes immense amounts of water. Just think of how many times you do this a day, and how much precious water goes down the drain! Grab a jug - or even better, purchase a water filtration jug (Try the Zerowater 12 cup, £39.99 zerowater.co.uk) - and fill it up with water when you wake up and place it in the fridge. Pour out a glass of water from the jug whenever you need a drink, instead of wasting 10 litres of water a day waiting for it to become cold!