With the water balanced on her head, and her foot still sore from the thorn, Nya knew that going home would take longer than coming had. But she might reach home by noon, if all went well.
From A Long Walk to Water
by Linda Sue Park
Clarion Books, 2010
The summer before I turned 12, I went to overnight Girl Scout Camp for two weeks. It was my first experience with an outdoor bathroom. I didn’t like it. It stunk. But it was private. It was far enough away from where we slept and played and learned about nature and how to get along with each other. It was an experience all of us girls shared.
We carried water in our canteens when we hiked. Mine had a long strap that crossed my body so the canteen could ride on my hip. It was easy to reach whenever I wanted a drink. (Now, I suppose, the ones in charge condone using plastic water bottles!)
I pay my quarterly water bill to ensure that water comes into and out of my house whenever I wish. For washing—clothes, dishes, myself. For drinking. For cooking.
When my husband and I bought our house, all those years ago, there was a working well on the back patio with a working pump. We had the water tested. It’s good water, but tastes a little iron-y. I use it to water the plants around my house. I pump the water into a 2-1/2 gallon galvanized can. It takes many trips to and from the pump, filling and sprinkling, to satisfy my flowers, tomatoes, and herbs. My house-plants are on their out-of-doors stay-cation and drink their share, too. The water is very cold. I also drink my fair share.
Not too long ago, (11/20/18) I told you about Sivan Ya’ari, founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa. She almost single-handedly brought solar energy to many remote villages in many countries in Africa. She taught the people how to use it to provide electricity for schools, refrigeration, irrigation, and wells to pump water.
But over two billion people around the world are still without safe water. Water that it is accessible when it is needed, affordable, and free from contaminants.
The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in 2010 stating that “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation [is] a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.” http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/64/292 It builds on a previous resolution creating the International Day of Water.
The United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day in 1993, and has been celebrated around the world ever since.
The day is set aside to highlight the importance of freshwater. According to UNICEF, 800 children die daily from unsafe water. Every 88 seconds, water-borne disease kills a child. Worldwide, 2.1 billion people have no safe drinking water. Smart and caring people are working on the problem, but it is a problem.
Each person on the planet needs about 2-3 liters (4-8 cups) of clean water to replenish what is lost through respiration, perspiration, and elimination. Every cell depends on water to survive. We can't live more than a week without it. And we've got a finite supply -- only a fraction of the water on our planet is drinkable.
Even though 71% of our Earth is covered in water, less than 2% is fresh water, and most of that is frozen, or found underground.
We all know how to conserve water.
This March 22, at least for that one day, I’ll be conscious of my water use. For at least one day, I will use water wisely.
Here are a couple of good places to find more information and join the efforts of the good people trying to solve a big problem, one drop at a time.
World Water Day Organization: https://www.worldwaterday.org
Greening the Blue http://www.greeningtheblue.org
2021 update: Here are some photos from Innovation Africa’s 10th anniversary. A summit was held recently with leaders representing 39 of Africa’s 54 countries.
Here in the US, almost half the country is experiencing drought conditions.
Increased evaporation due to high temperatures combine with lower than average snowfall is depleting California’s reservoirs.
Currently (September, 2021) Lake Mead, the reservoir formed by Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, is at 35% of its capacity. It’s at its lowest level since the 1930s.
The Colorado River Basin supplies water to San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles and 4-5 million acres of farmland in the Southwest.
-—stay curious! (and involved)