For World Water Day, Ways to Stop Wasting the Resource


Two posts in one night is certainly unheard of for me, but both of tonight’s are important — and someone else has done all the work for both of them. In case you missed it, the first was about purchasing good stuff to aid Japanese relief efforts.

I certainly couldn’t let World Water Day go by without it being acknowledged too though.

WWD is an international day of observance that came out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro where the UN adopted a resolution, creating it. People around the world host events to raise awareness of the importance of freshwater and improving its quality. Each year, a specific theme is adopted for the day.

World Water Day 2011 English logo

According to, “This year’s theme, Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge, aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management.”

I just thought you might want to know that.

But regardless of the year’s theme, this is the perfect day each year to take into consideration exactly what our own personal water usage is and how it can be reduced.

National Geographic’s environmental page has an incredible wealth of information on the topic, thanks to National Geographic Society’s multi-year freshwater initiative. One of the cool practical things on the site is a Water Footprint Calculator. You’ll be sucked in by the cute graphics of a duck, I swear. See how much water you use (in ways you may not have thought about) and pledge to cut back.

I fared pretty well because I’m a single gal living in an apartment who doesn’t have much money to buy new clothes and furniture and isn’t a big meat eater. See how you rate.

To put our average use into perspective, NatGeo says the average U.S. citizen uses 2,000 gallons of water a day. According to the UN, an American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day. It’s hard to even imagine that.

Another eye-opening page from NatGeo is Water Conservation Tips. Although I am aware of how bad for our planet meat production is, I’m almost embarrassed that I never thought about how much water goes into creating my cotton clothes (more reason to hit up resale shops!), into a cup of coffee (besides what you literally see in your cup!) or even electronics.

A crazy stat from NatGeo’s tips:

“The water required to create your laptop could wash nearly 70 loads of laundry in a standard machine.”


Even if you only remember one thing from those tips, it’s worth it. Just having one water conservation tip ringing in your head could very likely save you gallons of water and keep it on Earth for a better (lifesaving? nourishing?) use.

Just in case you, for some silly reason, choose not to check out what NatGeo has to offer on the matter, I leave you with two more “wow” stats from the site:

  • It takes about 100 gallons of water to grow and process a single pound of cotton, and the average American goes through about 35 pounds of new cotton material each year. Do you really need that additional T-shirt?
  • On average, a vegan, a person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet.

Please share your water-saving tips with me here! We all need all the help we can get.

And now, I’m going to go quietly contemplate a shower routine that will allow me to cut down on time spent in there and water wasted.


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