While for many of us in the USA, the “dog days of summer” are behind us and we no longer are experiencing the EXTREME heat of early summer, water supply and access continues to be a serious and important issue. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, as of the beginning of August 2013, over 45% of the lower 48 states were experiencing moderate to worse drought conditions. Let that sink in for a few minutes. Share it with the kids in your life.
Almost ½ of our country is in a drought situation. And with drought comes terrible fires, dust storms and crop failures which have impacted millions of Americans this summer. According to the EPA: “At least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages in 2013, even under non-drought conditions. And over the last 5 years nearly EVERY region of the country has experienced water shortages. ”
Take at look at some of these wonderful ideas for saving water from the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense Program:
Even with these great ideas and faced with so many facts about water shortages, many of us in the US don’t think twice about turning on the tap or hose with the expectation of getting an ENDLESS supply of clean, clear fresh water. In reality, in many places of the world, and also in places around our own country, this is a luxury that fewer and fewer people have access to or can easily afford.
Yemen is a country that has been in the news of late and is a prime example of a country where it’s citizens live with water shortages as part of their daily lives. Sana’a, Yemen’s capital city is running out of water and many relief agencies and international organizations feel that it could become the first capital city in the world to run out of a viable water supply. Most people in urban areas in Yemen obtain their water, every day, from water trucks. We need to “connect the dots” between climate change, water shortages, drought, daily living stresses that extreme weather imposes, and the unrest and unruliness that is erupting around the world.According to a 2012 article in the Guardian: “The water table in Sana’a has dropped far beyond sustainable levels, because of an exploding population, lack of water resource management and, most of all, unregulated drilling. Where Sana’a’s water table was 30 meters below the surface in the 1970s, it has now dropped to 1,200 meters in some areas. And on average each Yemeni has access to approximately 36,000 gallons of water per year for ALL uses.”
The Environmental Protection Agency’s(EPA) WaterSense program shows us that a typical US family can use up to 3,000 gallons of fresh water PER DAY during the summer months! At that rate, within 12 days during the summer, an American family would use up the average Yemeni’s ANNUAL water supply.
Discuss these facts with the kids in your life. Check in regularly with EPA’s WaterSense to help facilitate the discussion on water and why it is such a precious resource. Expand the discussion to include our role in accelerating climate change and what we need to do to protect and nurture our planet and all it’s scares resources so that our world remains a sustainable and livable place for us all.
Have your kids help you develop your own family “Water Saving Plan” and share it with us! For our Climate Mamas and Papas with younger children, Water Sense has some fun games, programs and kid focused information on water that can be found at Water Sense Kids.
What are you doing to save water this summer? Let us know!