We just passed Word Water Day

March 23, 2016

As already mentioned, I’m not good in keeping evidence of birthdays, anniversaries, and special events. I don’t use a calendar, I have all appointments and dates in my head. Yesterday was World Water Day, and today I used a sprinkler the first time this year. I never used a sprinkler until the drought in summer last year, when I had to keep the garden plants alive with expensive municipal water.

It is unusual dry again and it is unusual warm. Spring started one month earlier. This will be the new normal, I know, and it could become even worse. People enjoy the mild and sunny weather, they don’t understand, what the dry climate means for nature, for the forests, for agriculture, for food security. The water tables are sinking everywhere, it is not only the drought, but also overuse because of too many people, increased consumption, and waste.

Today I will plant another three plum trees, bringing the amount of fruit trees in the garden to 31. I also will plant another two grapevines and eight blueberry bushes.

I hope, that a thick tree canopy will protect the soil from drying out. As I wrote already last August, the fruit trees unfortunately will need many years to form a protecting canopy, but there is a faster growing alternative: 11 grapevines and uncounted profusely growing blackberry bushes cover a respectable area and there are 2 meter high trellis set up on which they can climb, creep, entwine, and grow. The trellis form covered passageways where one can walk around without being exposed to the stinging sun. There are several areas that are completely covered by the grapevines and where it is substantially cooler as in the open. If anything goes well, a microclimate like in the tropical forests will evolve, keeping most of the humidity inside the shielding canopy.

Other measures against the drought are saving all rainwater in 24 barrels with a combined capacity of 4.000 liter and constantly increasing the humus layer, which is an excellent water storage and the must natural one too.

World water day is again a chance for food companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsico to advertise their bottled water. They are the pretending savers of humanity, the true hypocritical and deceitful philanthropists. When it came out, that the water in Flint, Michigan, USA, was laced with lead and not safe to drink, Walmart, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Nestle donated 6.5 million bottles of water to the thirsty population.

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But what about Philadelphia, Pensylvania or Latimer, Oklahoma or Sebring, Ohio?  What about the millions of older homes around the USA where lead pipes like the ones that contaminated the tap water in Flint make tap water undrinkable? Excessive lead levels were found in almost 2,000 water systems across all 50 states.

What about contaminated water around the word?

Affluent people can buy bottled water, poor people cannot, they will die earlier. Bottled water is wasteful, is a luxury, the cost of just one case of bottled water could supply a person in Africa with clean, safe drinking water for a year! It takes three times more water to produce the bottle than this bottle will contain in the end and a 500 ml bottle requires 100 ml of oil for production.

The Gaza Strip, Papua New Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Chad, Mozambique are listed as worst affected. 75.8 million people in India have no access to safe potable water, but Nigeria, Ethiopia, China also reel under drinking water scarcity.

Every country in the Middle East is affected by water scarcity, the conflict in Syria is partly a water war, as Turkey withholds and diverts the water of the Euphrates River and Israel has illegally annexed the water rich Golan Heights.

These are all constantly changing assessments and statistics. Local authorities try to hide the severity of the problem, aid agencies try to pretend that help is on the way, people in rich countries deny their culpability and hope that they can buy their way out, corporations sense gigantic profits and buy water rights from whoever is willing to sell (corrupt politicians and administrators).

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Facts about access to water around the globe:

1. 1.8 billion people around the world lack access to safe water.

2. Globally, a third of all schools lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

3. In low- and middle-income countries, a third of all healthcare facilities lack a safe water source.

4. The World Economic Forum in January 2015 ranked the water crisis as the No. 1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation).

5. The incidence of children suffering from stunting and chronic malnutrition — at least 160 million — is linked to water and sanitation.

6. More than 840,000 people die from a water-related disease each year, including diarrhea caused by bad drinking water, hygiene and sanitation.

7. Eighty-two percent of people who don’t have access to “improved” water live in rural areas.

8. More than one-third of people worldwide lack access to a toilet, more than the number of people who have a mobile phone.

9. Women and children spend 125 million hours collecting fresh water every day. Individual women and children spend as many as six hours collecting fresh water daily.

10. Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease.

11. Universal access to safe water and sanitation would result in $18.5 billion in economic benefits each year from deaths avoided alone, a return of $4 for every dollar spent on safe water access.

12. The amount of safe water could drop by 40 percent in 15 years if people do not change the way they use water.

The numbers are from Water.org, which is funded partly by Pepsico, Caterpillar, Bank of America, Hilton, Ikea, etc. Take the numbers and be careful about the proposed solutions.

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A few more numbers about water scarcity:

The total volume of water on the Earth is about 1.4 billion cubic kilometers, 2.5 percent of which is fresh water, totaling 35 million cubic kilometers.

As many as 75 percent of the world reserves of fresh water are contained in glaciers and icebergs.

Currently, more than 80 countries lack adequate water supply, and it is becoming urgent to many regions of the world due to demographic growth, global warming, and a range of other reasons.

Brazil leads with 19 percent of the world’s fresh water reserves, while Russia contains 10 percent and Canada, Indonesia, China each hold 7 percent.

This is a fundamental problem and one of the key issues of human survival. Too many humans are using too much water and they are contaminating wells and groundwater with heavy metals and synthetic chemicals.

I will write more about this when I have time, right now though I have to go out and plant the new fruit trees, grapevines, and berry bushes. 

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