According to the United Nations, our current world population is 7.2 billion and is projected to increase by one billion over the next 12 years, reaching 9.6 billion by 2050. As humankind continues to grow in population, it is critically important to stop and think about this year’s theme for World Water Day: “Leaving no one behind”. This is part of the core promise of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, focusing on the idea that we will all benefit as a result of the progression of sustainable development.
Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), Clean Water and Sanitation, identifies several targets. For example, Target 6.1 states that by 2030 we must “achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.”
Some examples of other measures set out under SDG 6 include:
- Improving water quality by reducing pollution and the proportion of untreated wastewater while substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.
- Substantially increasing water-use efficiencies across all sectors, ensuring sustainable withdrawals and a future supply of fresh water to address water scarcity.
- By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water and sanitation-related activities including harvesting and desalination of water, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies, and via other efficiencies.
While these are certainly all fantastic goals that can, and must, be embraced on a global scale, many of us, particularly in more developed countries where the challenges of poor water quality and scarcity are not always obvious, often find ourselves wondering what we can do to get started and help. What role can we play in the movement toward these targets of sustainability?
Well the great news is, we can all do plenty – and it does not have to be daunting or overwhelming at all. We can start by taking action in our everyday lives – at work and home.
Here are a few simple and practical ideas on water preservation to help get you started:
- Learn to repurpose water and use every drop. This can be done by capturing the excess, potable water used to rinse food, dishes, etc. and using it to water plants around the office or home. Rain barrels can also be used to save and store rainwater for use in landscaping.
- If you are using an irrigation system, be sure it makes use of controllers that adjust to real weather conditions and provides water only when needed. Install or make use of drip irrigation piping and soaker hoses for improved watering efficiency.
- Install smaller, energy efficient dishwashers and only run them when they are full.
- Don’t let faucets run while brushing your teeth, shaving, rinsing dishes, or washing up. According to the EPA, the average bathroom faucet runs at about 2 gallons of water a minute. Turning the tap off during these activities can save hundreds of gallons a month.
- In North America, showering accounts for almost 17% of indoor water use — about 40 gallons a day for the average family of four. You can save water here by replacing old showerheads with newer “water-wise” certified models.
- Install low-flow toilets at home and work, and be sure to fix leaks right away. A slow drip from a leaking faucet can waste as much as 20 gallons of water a day. A leaky toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons a day.
At Lystek, we are proud to be part of the movement toward a more sustainable world with proven, practical, and affordable solutions that enhance the recovery and recycling of valuable resources such as nutrients, carbon, and biogas in wastewater treatment plants while optimizing the quality of effluent water released back into our environment.
Cleaner wastewater reduces the risk of nutrient overloading that occurs when too many of these elements make their way into our natural waterways. Therefore, the effective use and treatment of water and wastewater can help play an important role in combatting the many challenges associated with climate change and water preservation.