We often don’t think about how much water we consume because it is an accessible resource that flows freely with the turn of a knob. In fact, the average American uses 100 gallons of water per day.
But what if fresh water wasn’t so easy to get? According to LiveEarth, almost 1 billion people worldwide live without access to clean, safe drinking water.
World Water Day was established in 1992 by the UN General Assembly to bring awareness about the growing water crisis.
“Today really is a day to allow us all to take a step back recognize the importance of water in our lives and what we can do to better protect it and manage this resource,” says Nicole Silk, managing director of the Global Freshwater Team for The Nature Conservancy.
On this year’s World Water Day, The Nature Conservancy and Crystal Light are teaming up to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of lakes and rivers, sources that Silk says are vital to our water supply.
“In the U.S., over half of our households get water from lakes and rivers, and the fascinating thing is the reality that we really don’t know that,” she says. “It flows; we depend upon it; we trust it’s safe and clean, but really need to do a better job of taking care of our freshwater sources.”
Crystal Light will give to The Nature Conservancy 100 percent of net profits from its powdered drink mix products sold on March 22 – no less than $350,000 and up to $750,000.
According to Silk, the funds will help support five priority river and lake projects throughout the country:
- The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the intermountain West and touches seven states. It has been impacted by rapid population growth in the west.
- The Great Lakes Basin holds a fifth of the water on Earth and impacts millions of Americans living on its shores. Even here, freshwater resources are in trouble as a result of climate change, water development and use.
- The Meramec River, part of the Mississippi River, supplies drinking water to more than 15 million people and serves as a habitat for thousands of fish, birds and other wildlife. Over time, it has been threatened by excessive use, and is one of the Conservancy’s highest priorities.
- The Potomac River provides drinking water to 4.3 million people living in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Rapid population growth has been a serious impact on the river.
- Southern Rivers and streams, such as the Pascagoula River in Mississippi and the Flint River in Georgia, span all 15 southern states. Recent droughts and increasing water demands have threatened these important bodies of water.
“Partially it’s about money, but it is more about the awareness,” Silk says. “It’s not just money for these five projects, but it is also to support the lessons learned that will be applied around the world to The Nature Conservancy’s ongoing projects in Africa, China and Colombia, among others.”
Silk says Americans’ water consumption doesn’t stop in the home but actually applies to the items we use on a daily basis.
“The big kicker is not necessarily in our own individual water consumption, but is bound-up in the products we use as well,” she explains. “‘Hidden water’ is in the coffee we use […] your favorite pair of jeans or even that tub of butter. There is water used in the production process and getting those products to market. Getting more efficient about our processes – for both food and others things – are all a part of the solution.”
And we may be on the right track to better understanding and reducing our consumption. Silk, who has been involved with conservation for more than 25 years, says she has seen amazing consumer-driven progress that is now a big part of the corporate world as well.
“The world is really changing, and it’s exciting,” she says. “If you would have told me this a quarter-century ago, I would have laughed.”
Feature image courtesy of offthelefteye from Pixabay