Conserving Water: Challenge of the 21st Century

The fresh water we consume represents 1% of all the water on the planet which is currently affected by pollution, climate change and excessive use.

The water resources of our planet consist essentially of freshwater and saltwater. Together, these waters cover around 71% of the earth’s surface. However, the freshwater that we consume and use every day is very scarce, representing only 1% of all the freshwater on the  planet.

This natural resource is available in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, but also under the ground, where groundwater accumulates. Despite its scarcity, freshwater supports much of life on earth and our activities. Freshwater is used, for example, for agriculture and food production, to keep our bodies hydrated and healthy, for cooking and preparing food, for daily hygiene, for industrial activities, and the production of most of the products we use today.

The responsible consumption of the water that we use in our daily lives is of great importance, we not only contribute to reducing the amount of water that we sometimes waste, because with each action we are helping to maintain availability.

Freshwater is an essential good for life and, in this sense, it must be preserved and protected from sources of contamination and used in a sustainable way by all, following the principles of the 3Rs: reduce its consumption whenever possible, promote its recycling and reuse.

  1. Reduce: actions such as taking short showers, turning off the tap while soaping our hands or brushing our teeth and decreasing the water flow while washing kitchen tools, all of these practices greatly reduces the amount of liters of water we use in our daily lives.
  2. Reuse: At our homes, we can utilize kitchen or washing water to irrigate plants or clean certain areas of our homes. Additionally, capturing rainwater for washing purposes or for use in the bathroom is another effective method. By adopting these practices, we can collectively reduce unnecessary consumption of clean water.
  3. Recycle: disinfecting wastewater for washing or irrigation, filtering water free of chemical substances also for irrigation, help make the most of this resource.

Nowadays several countries, including European Union member states, are increasingly suffering from droughts. Reusing water from urban wastewater treatment plants can help address water scarcity. Wastewater serves as an effective alternative water supply, ensuring a safe and predictable source of water while reducing pressure on water bodies and enhancing our ability to adapt to climate change.

The challenge for individuals now is to modify our habits and adapt to a lifestyle where water consumption and conservation are of vital importance. It is crucial to recognize that water is the most important resource for life and take steps to achieve its conservation. Similarly, the governments must put efforts into implementing policies and regulations that promote water recycling and reuse.