World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about focusing attention on the importance of water. This year’s theme is ‘Nature for Water’. Aimed at exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century. Exploring how we can reduce floods, drought and water pollution?
Floods, droughts and water pollution – the facts
Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving the water-related crises we see around the world. Sadly, floods, droughts and water pollution are disasters that happen every single day around the world. Resulting in damage done to our properties, landscapes, damaged eco systems, the list goes on. Affecting the water we drink and the food we eat, not to mention the enormous effect it has on poverty-stricken parts of the world.
Sadly, 2.1 billion people live without access to safe drinking water; affecting their health, education and livelihoods. By 2050, it is estimated that the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people. Resulting in the global water demand increasing by at least 30% [UNESCO (2018) United Nations Water Development Report 2018].
1 billion People live without access to safe drinking water.
By 2050, it is estimated that the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people.
Today, around 1.9 billion people live in potentially severely water-scarce areas. By 2050, this could increase to around 3 billion people.
An estimated 1.8 billion people use an unimproved source of drinking water with no protection against contamination from human feces.
Today, around 1.8 billion people are affected by land degradation and desertification. Over 65% of forested land is in a degraded state.
Nature for Water
Nature-based solutions have the potential to solve many of our water challenges we see today, which will only increase with our ever-growing population. We need to do more with ‘green’ infrastructure and harmonize it with ‘grey’ infrastructure wherever possible. Combining these solutions will rebalance the water cycle and improve human health and livelihoods. Some of these infrastructures include, planting new forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands. Combined with human-built reservoirs and dams, making conscious efforts to protect our wetlands and coral reefs and creating affordable green energy schemes. We can all help change the way we manage water and sanitation for everyone.
What can we do in the short term to support World Water Day and the Nature for Water theme?
- Water Harvesting: Using rainwater where possible to water your plants and wash cars.
- Building a house? Have you thought about grey water solutions? Such as, introducing a green roof made from mosses and sedums, where rainwater gets filtered through the plants and correct drainage, then into your water storage. Grey water can then be used to flush toilets and even run washing machines.
- Protect the mangroves – the destruction, damage or disturbance of marine plants without prior approval from Fisheries QLD is prohibited. Not only that, they maintain coastal flood control for storms.
- Protect reefs – don’t step on them or deliberately disturb the coral. Reefs play an important factor in coastal flood control
- Get your building checked by a plumber for water leaks. Not only is it wasteful, can cause damage and can be expensive, it harms the environment by increasing water-logging in urban areas which, in the long-run is not good for local ecosystems.