Save some for the fishes

Numerous fountains, many adorned with majestic gardens and flowerbeds, are scattered throughout the city of Lima in every district.

But, just as water in fountains is used to draw in bystanders’ attention, I’ve seen endless situations in Peru where gallons upon gallons (upon liters) of water have been senselessly wasted.

For instance, unimaginable amounts of water spout out the end of a well-worn, green garden hose onto dirt driveways, trying to foster the growth of grass that’s not there.

Street medians are flooded to quench the thirst of the somewhat patchy areas that are still present as the weather transitions into summer.

Fire hydrant leaks going unattended to for hours on end.

Some may argue that water covers 70 percent of our planet; therefore, it’s plentiful.

So, what’s the problem?

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Parque del Amor in Miraflores

Well, the problem is this.

Only 3 percent of the world’s water is fresh water, of which at least two-thirds is unavailable because it’s stored in glaciers, ice caps, etc.

According to several studies, Lima is the second driest capital in the world after Cairo, and it is predicted to run into water scarcity problems by the year 2025.

That’s less than a decade away.

To make matters worse, the city has over one million inhabitants not connected to the waste water disposal network or with access to clean drinking water. Out of the 31 million inhabitants of the country of Peru, over four million lack access to safe water, and eight million lack access to adequate sanitation services.

In fact, 40 percent of the world’s population does not have access to clean, hygienic water.

And every 8 seconds around the world, a child dies from consuming or being exposed to disease-infected water. In fact, 80 percent of diseases in developing countries are spread through consumption of infected water.

But yes, I get it.

I’m in Peru.

I understand that many of my readers are in the States, where there isn’t a major perceived threat for water shortage or safety. (Just wait another 10 years or less for shortages to start kicking in nationwide. Also, tap water in the States isn’t all that safe either.)

Therefore, the first thing that may pop into mind is how does this pertain to me, an estadounidense?

Well, according to the second World Water Forum, “Water is everyone’s business.”

And it should be recognized as a priority on everyone’s agenda.

Almost everywhere, water is wasted.

And as long as people are not faced with water scarcity (or shortage), it is believed to be accessible to all as an obvious and natural thing.

With urbanization and changes in lifestyles across the globe, water consumption is bound to increase.

But don’t let this easy-going present situation stop you from taking steps today to be more conscientious of your water usage. Take action now.

A great way to start is by following some of these simple tips.

  1. Turn off tap water when brushing your teeth.

This simple feat can save 1.5 gallons (6 liters) of water per minute. (And if you do the same when lathering up your hands with soap, it can save even more.)

  1. Take a shorter shower.

In an United States average home, showers are rated among the top three for water usage after clothes washers and toilets. The average North American uses 17 gallons (65.1 liters) for an 8.2 minute shower. You can reduce this by taking a shorter shower and turning off the water when lathering yourself.

  1. Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads.

When it comes to washing clothes, one tip is to not use the permanent press cycles for clothes washers because this cycle uses another 5 gallons (20 liters). And when it comes to washing dishes, don’t pre-rinse.

  1. Set up a rain barrel or bucket.

If you have a garden, flower bed, small lawn or anything else that requires watering, collect rain water from your gutters. This will reduce the amount of time you spend running the hose.

  1. Repair leaking faucets.

According to American Water & Energy Savers, a leaky faucet at one drop per second will waste 2,700 gallons (over 10,220 liters) of water per year. So, do what it takes to make some minor adjustments. While you’re at it, fix anything else that leaks also.

For more tips of water conservation, visit this site.

Anything little bit helps to become a more aware person tomorrow.


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