20 Days of H2O: World Water Day 2013

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Published on March 1st, 2013  |  Discuss This Article  

20 Days of H2O

140 liters of water to make a cup of coffee… 185 liters of water to make a bag of chips… 1,500 liters of water to grow cotton for a t-shirt. The hidden water used to produce the food we eat and the items we consume is incredible. Today, over 40% of the U.S. is in a severe drought and by 2025 water shortages could be a reality for two-thirds of the world’s population. Help us spread the word about the global water crisis and remind people that water comes from nature and needs to be protected and invested in through our 20 Days of H2O Campaign.

From March 2 to March 22, 2013, The Nature Conservancy will be raising awareness about water issues, including just how much water we really use in our daily lives, how water impacts economic growth, and tips for reducing water use, culminating in a celebration of World Water Day on March 22.

Help us countdown to World Water Day by doing the following:

  • Share the daily water facts with your friends.
  • Share your own tips for saving water in the comments section of this blog page.
  • Give us a fact or tip on twitter and spread the word with the hashtag #20daysofh2o.
  • Watch this space for more weekly updates.

Here is today’s tweet:

3/22: Today is #WorldWaterDay! Do you know where your H2O comes from? Watch what people had to say. #20Daysofh2o

20 Days of H2O:

3/1: #20daysofh2o starts tomorrow. Check back each day for a new #h2o tweet. Let the countdown to #worldwaterday begin!

3/2: 3.7 million new #h2o jobs could be available by 2020 follow @AdamMFreed for #h2o news & action alerts #20daysofh2o

3/3: 15% of global h2o basins are water-stressed & supply 50% of cities but @nature_org is connecting cities & #h2o #20daysofh2o

3/4: Try living on < a bathtub of #h2o/day. Could be a reality for many city dwellers by 2050. #20daysofh2o

3/5: RT THIS!! Get a reusable water bottle. Plastic for 1 bottled #h2o = 7 liters of #h2o. #20daysofh2o

3/6: FACT: 70% of #h2o withdrawn from nature goes to agriculture. ACT: Eat your leftovers. #20daysofh2o

3/7: Plz RT! It’s Dirty Day! Skip washing something. Anything. For the sake of saving #h2o. #20daysofh2o

3/8: ACT: Unplug chargers & electronics. 1 day of electricity at home = about 15-19 liters of #h2o. #20daysofh2o

3/9: Wildlife needs #h2o, too. Share this slideshow to help spread the word #20daysofh2o #doitfortheanimals

3/10: Use social media to ask a favorite brand what they’re doing to reduce their #h2o. Use #20daysofh2o

3/11: 1 hamburger = 2,400 liters of #h2o. Join us in celebrating #meatlessmonday by going #vegfortheday. #20daysofh2o

3/12: It’s annual Tree-planting Day in China. Plant a #tree to help save #h2o. #20daysofh2o

3/13: Go for the healthier option: a baked potato = 25 liters of #h2o vs. 1 bag of chips = 185 liters. #20daysofh2o

3/14: The average #h2o footprint of an American is 33,000 glasses a day. Learn more with our infographic. #20daysofh2o

3/15: Swap, don’t shop! Buy second hand/vintage/upcycled. 1 kg cotton = 10,000 liters of #h2o. #20daysofh2o

3/16: Featured #H2O tip: constant conservation. Check out more water saving tips below & share your own. #20daysofh2o

3/17: Happy #stpaddysday! How much #h2o is in your #beer? Find out here. #20daysofh2o

3/18: Water your lawn & garden in the morning or evening when #h2o evaporates less rapidly. #20daysofh2o

3/19: 40% of US has been declared a natural disaster area bc of drought. Learn more. #20daysofh2o. #20daysofh2o

3/20: The key to valuing #h2o: knowing where it comes from. Where does YOUR water come from? #20daysofh2o

3/21: Almost $1 trillion/yr needed to meet growing demand for #h2o. Protecting #h2o at its source is smarter & cheaper. #20daysofh2o

3/22: Today is #WorldWaterDay! Do you know where your H2O comes from? Watch what people had to say. #20Daysofh2o

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Comments: 20 Days of H2O: World Water Day 2013

  •  Comment from Dan Dickinson

    Over 42 million gallons of H2O used for “fracking” by several wells in Northern Michigan last year. The State of MI says this is within normal limits of water usage. Really?

  •  Comment from Michael

    Yes, don’t forget about groundwater governance!
    More on http://www.hydrology.nl

  •  Comment from Eleanor Thomas

    I really hope that over the course of the next 20 days you delve into the dreadful waste of water in the animal factory farming “industry”. We treat our poor farmed animals so dreadfully, slaughter them so inhumanely and waste precious resources to do so. If only everyone could cut out eating meat from their customary 2 meals at least every day, to maybe even once or twice a week, we would be healthier, we could save so many poor creatures from a lifetime of misery and a horrific death and save billions of gallons of water at the same time. Please let people know the facts about the factory farming process and its over use of water.

  •  Comment from Amanda

    I take short showers and eat meatless meals the majority of the time. I like to think it makes at least a small impact.

  •  Comment from AJ Turner

    How many plastic utensils/containers do you use regularly and throw away? Save glass bottles and canning jars for left over foods…they are safer for your food and not as wasteful as plastic.

    •  Comment from Stan Anderson

      Insist on polyester carpeting that uses up 90% recycled plastic, and “rebond” padding that can be 80% recycled material.

      Reuse plastic bags when shopping; place a few in your car, purse, or pocket.

      •  Comment from jeff

        The only problem with the re-use of grocery bags is the risk of contamination from E coli with packaged meat. If it leaks out, it can get on other bagged items. There was a study done on this maybe several years ago.

  •  Comment from Clara

    Showers between 3 and 5 minutes, turn the water off while you brush your teeth, only run appliances when they are full.

  •  Comment from Joanne

    I use the water from partial water changes in my aquarium to water my houseplants year round and outdoor plants in warmer months.

  •  Comment from Susan

    When you wash dishes, stop up the sink and rinse them without running water for every dish. Get a water saver kit for your toilets and get a water saver shower head.

  •  Comment from Helen

    I grew up in the ’40s with no indoor plumbing. We had to carry water from my grandmother’s spring a mile away.
    Today I cherish water and do two things to conserve my usage:

    1. Any left over water in drinking glasses goes into a large pitcher and is then used to water my plants.

    2. When I brush my teeth or wash my face, I refrain from running the water full force. I allow a small stream of water to flow, enough with which to wash my face or brush my teeth.

  •  Comment from Adele E Zimmermann

    My water savers:

    Rinse dishes in a pan of water or, at least, don’t keep the faucet on all the time you are washing dishes.

    Use a pan for washing dishes. Use dishwater to water landscaping or flush the toilet;

    Install a shutoff just behind the shower head. Shut it off when soaping/conditioning hair and scrubbing body. No need to turn faucet on off and readjust temperature.

  •  Comment from G. P. Suddeth

    We have achieved significant use reduction by saving all bathing water to flush the toilet. In taking a bath or shower we keep the drain closed, then with a one gallon pitcher, we use the accumulated water for flushing the toilet. For fastidiousness, we use the spout or shower to rinse soapy water from each foot as we step out of the tub. We almost never have to use the water from the toilet tank for flushing, resulting in a major reduction of water use(and water bill!).

  •  Comment from Jeff

    Ignore thawing directions for frozen foods that tell you to place the package under running water for one or more minutes; a better way is to open it and let it sit in a bowl of water.

  •  Comment from Jim Hensley

    We waste a lot of water when running our taps for hot water in the kitchen and bathrooms. I’ve started bucketing the water waiting for hot water. Then I take the buckets out to water my plants. I have a small home, the distance from hot water heater to kitchen sink and tub is approximately 50 feet. To obtain hot water, my bucket gains about 2 gallons of water. Replicate that 2 or 3 times a day as a single householder adds up. My savings is about 180 gallons a month. Larger homes and families, will exceed this several times over.
    Jim Hensley – former water board member

  •  Comment from Alana M

    Living on an island, we learn young to conserve water as we depend only on rainwater caught for our cisterns.
    Re-use dish water to water plants, don’t let water run when brushing teeth or washing dishes, do you really need to flush every single time you go to bathroom?

    If you do not have an water saving toilet, you can place bricks or rocks in your toilet tank to reduce the volume of water used in flushing. Do not take lenghty showers. Consolidated your like laundry loads for washing.

    All of the above, we do by habit and never worry about paying for or running out of water. Very simple and takes very little thought.

  •  Comment from Duncan Sellars

    When we need to bring up hot water for washing dishes taking showers or just washing our hands we put a bucket under the faucet, collect the water until it is hot. That water is used to water plants and fill the washer.

  •  Comment from Doris Maystrom

    I have a couple of ways I thought would save water. 1. water mixed Concrete Highway divider blocks could made using Recycled Plastic or break resistant non toxic Pulp mixtures.
    2. Putting toilet paper into a wastebasket not into a toilet with the Lavatory water, untrapping water absorbed in paper while floating in the sewers to the water treatment facility.
    3.Keep a water jug recycled from catfood or litter etc.and when warming up the shower water fill your jug with the cold water until it the shower water is warm enough to use, not only does it cut water waste but it saves on the bill when you use the jug water to water your pet. Or it could be saved for an emergency housefire reserve.

  •  Comment from Stan Anderson

    Three Hundred Children die of malnutrition per hour world wide. It is well and good to provide plant based foods, which require one-tenth the water per calorie to produce to reduce hunger, but there is a limit to arable land that may be used for farming. Commercial farming or even subsistence farming are not feasible for the lack of precipitation and soil fertility. In the here and now the use of animal protein is the only option available to reduce the mortality rates of the world population. In the future; develop subsistence farming practices that are sustainable and education of these practices are esteemed goals.

  •  Comment from AA

    Constant conservation: vegetarian diet, refill water bottles with filtered water, conserve flushes in toilet for non-solid waste, recycle everything possible, re-use plastic utensils, plates and cups, natural landscaping, etc.

  •  Comment from Anne Frenchick

    If I have to run the “Hot” to get it hot, I catch it and use it to water plants, fill bird bath, etc.

  •  Comment from Stan Anderson

    A transportation infrastructure must be developed to fully utilize Recycled Water for use in industrial and parks/green belt applications.

    Reduce the surface area of current and proposed water storage facilities by increasing their depth.

    Encourage homeowners and builders, with rebates, to convert/install underutilized lawns and other water “hungry” landscapes to natural landscapes that only need natural precipitation to thrive.

    Fees for water utilization must be entirely based on usage without a base rate that is usually the same for all users.

  •  Comment from Glen A. Halbe

    You don’t need to use water on your toothbrush and tooth paste at all only when you rinse your mouth afterwards

  •  Comment from wyatt

    My personal efforts to conserve and not waste water are important and meaningless. Want to really save water? BAN ALL FRACKING

  •  Comment from Soythlander

    1. Recycle, recycle, recycle.
    2. Use your own bags for groceries.
    3. Meatless Mondays.
    4. Water barrels. We currently have five (5) in use.
    5. Encourage and educate family and friends about 1 through 5.
    6. :-))

  •  Comment from Jan Harding

    Our water heater is a long way from the rooms where we use hot water. We keep a gallon jug next to the kitchen sink. As we wait for hot water to reach the faucet we fill the jug. Later we use it to rinse things, soak cooking pans, clean the sink and water plants. In our bathroom we keep a bucket that we fill as the shower heats up. This water is used for bathroom cleaning and toilet flushing. Both our shower heads are low flow and we keep the flow low when we shower. Unless we’ve been sweaty, we don’t shower daily (the doc advises this approach). In the summer we collect condensation from the heat pump/AC and use it to water outdoor plants. We plant drought hardy plants and mulch a lot (using ground up leaves from our deciduous trees). We’ve eliminated all lawn and have several large natural areas where the ground is covered in pine straw instead of plants.

  •  Comment from JT

    As an extension of the aforementioned suggestion to save rinse and waste water for plants…we keep a fern behind our kitchen sink, and much of that water conveniently goes right on it. It’s a beautiful plant thanks to all the nutrients.

  •  Comment from Barry Draper

    I have enjoyed reading the comments today.
    It has always bothered me that Nation Wide , we flush our waste with DRINKING water. Composting toilets or flushing with gray water makes so much more sense.
    We water our close to an acre veg. garden totally with rain water collected from our House and barn roofs using syphons to fill 20 fifty gallon juice containers.
    We also heat all our hot water with a Tyrola cookstove in winter and 2 coils of water pipe on the barn roof for solar heating in the summer hitched to an outside shower. Need less to say a shower a day is not in the plan . What a savings.
    My wife and I are finally retired and have been living in our self built house for 34 years. “Living The Good Life” most of the time!

  •  Comment from Gretchen Robinson

    We used to have a septic system that failed and I had to put the washing machine hose out my ground level window. We have city sewage now but I’m thinking of going back to that.

    I’m trying to think of a way to save water from handwashing and rinsing dishes for outdoor use.

  •  Comment from Mary Westervelt

    I keep a length of flexible plumbing hose near the washer. I hook it up to the washer drain pipe and direct the rinse water out onto the lawn or other ground covers.

    Since I have dry skin, it’s a natural choice for me to not take a shower every day. Most of us could take fewer than we do.

    I keep a bucket in the tub and run water into it till the shower water is hot. The bucket water goes to house plants, or into the washing machine.

    I heat a small pot of water on the stove to wash dishes, then rinse items that don’t touch mouths until the water from the faucet is hot. Question: how much water (as in hydroelectric power) does it take to heat my pint or so of water? Am I really saving water by heating it on the stove rather than running the tap till the water is hot?

    Another question: I wanted to replace my water heater with a tankless heater, but the plumber told me that they wear out after only a few years. Does anyone have experience with them?

  •  Comment from Nicolás

    What can work a bit is unplugging all electrical appliances that are not in use, choosing more adequate lightbulbs, brushing your teeth without the water running, putting an item that uses more space in the water supplier for the W.C. (I don´t know how it´s called) so that it won´t take that much water for it to refill…
    Hope everyone has a fun happy water day!

  •  Comment from Nicolás

    Oh, and also, I must say that the tip on hosing the garden during late afternoon even at night does work plus it helps one avoid excessive moisture on grass and plants thus keeping the garden healthier…
    It is incredible how nuch water one uses just cleaning things, dishes, bathroom, etc… We have had some water problems in Chile and I´ve had to ration my water and it is during such times that one becomes aware how indispensable water is, More rain please over here!!!!! Thank you Nature Conservancy for caring…Happy Water Day!

  •  Comment from manaskunt

    When your water comes from a shallow well you can’t help but think about every drop. We don’t have a lawn; sow our septic field with wildflowers. Water from heating up the taps in the bathroom goes into buckets that are used to flush the toilets. And those toilets are flushed by the “California rule” known to everyone who has lived through a severe drought. We save plastic bottles and refill them from our own tap to carry on trips and in the car.

  •  Comment from Scott S.

    Pause before throwing every article of clothing into the laundry hamper after a single use. Use your eyes to give it a once over, give it a sniff, and if it looks and smells clean, hang it back up in the closet.

    Purchase clothes made of materials like wool that are highly resistant to retaining odors. I am fond of Smartwool, and more recently Merrell wool socks, the latter of which have a _3_year_warranty_. They can go for a couple of days before needing to hit the laundry. The warranty and less frequent washing will easily offset the higher cost.

  •  Comment from Marie Gentile

    Ten off-beat facts science says about water from Elsevier research journals:
    1. You can get ‘drunk’ on water! Water intoxication (WI) (1)caused by over-consumption of water, can be lethal. This condition is usually seen in patients with psychiatric disorders, victims of child abuse or torture, drug abusers or it can be iatrogenically induced (result from a physician’s words or actions). Perhaps one of the most renowned fatal cases was the January 2007 death of 28-year-old Jennifer Strange, who competed in a radio station’s contest to see how much water she could drink without going to the bathroom. Strange was found dead in her home in Sacramento, California, just hours after taking part in the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest in which a radio station promised to present the winner with a Nintendo Wii video game system, according to news reports. The official cause of death was “acute water intoxication.” (2)

    2. Drinking cold water can increase your sweet tooth. A study has shown that if you drink iced water before eating chocolate you don’t find it as sweet, creamy or chocolaty as people who skip a cold drink. The authors suggest these findings may help to explain why North American people, who are more used to drinking iced water, show a strong preference for more highly sweetened foods. (3)

    3. Breastfeeding moms should drink more water. As 87% of milk is comprised of water, it is important that breastfeeding women keep their fluid levels high. The National Research Council recommends fluid intake of 2,200 mL (9 c) per day for the average female. A breastfeeding mother should drink an extra 750 to 1,000 mL/ day, an increase of at least 34%. (4)

    4. Water exercise can reduce breast cancer fatigue: Sufferers of cancer-related fatigue (CRF) experience tiredness or exhaustion that is not caused by activity. In a trial, breast cancer survivors were randomly assigned to either an experimental group (aquatic exercise group in deep water pool) or a control group (usual care). The water exercise group experienced improvements in cancer-related fatigue and strength. (5)

    5. Water Wars. People have been fighting over water for centuries. One of the first “water wars” ever documented was fought between the Mesopotamian city-states of Lagash and Umma more than 4,500 years ago, because of a dispute over a canal and its use to irrigate fields that produced staple crops for the two city-states. (6)

    6. Problems with kidney stones? Hippocrates had the answer. Back in 490BC, Hippocrates would recommend large intakes of water to increase urine output and reduce the risk of urinary tract stones. Today, approximately 12% to 15% of the general population will form a kidney stone at some time. Many factors can lead to the development of these stones but, of these, diet -especially fluid intake – is the only one that can be easily changed and that has a marked effect on all risk factors. (4)

    7. Does drinking eight glasses a day keeps your skin hydrated? The popular view is that drinking six to eight glasses of water each day will keep your skin hydrated, help it look healthier, and reduce your risk of wrinkles. This paper concludes that the only certainty about this issue is that there isn’t enough scientific evidence available to support this hypothesis. The authors recommend further scientific research. (7)

    8. Is the contraceptive pill responsible for raising the estrogen levels in water? Research studies conclude that birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptive methods are not the primary reason for estrogenic compounds found in our environment; it is more likely to come from other sources such as synthetic estrogens in crop fertilizer, hormones fed to livestock and industrial chemicals. (8)

    9. North America and Japan are the largest per capita consumers of water in the world: Daily per capita in North American and Japan is 350 Liters, as compared to 200 liters in Europe and a mere 10-20 Liters in sub-Saharan Africa. (9)

    10. Water for food production: Average quantity of water needed to produce 1 kg of: wheat — 1,500 Liters; beef: 13,000 Liters and rice: 2,000 Liters. (9)

    1. Forensic aspects of water intoxication: Four case reports and review of relevant literature, Radojevic N, Bjelogrlic B, Aleksic V, Rancic N, Samardzic M, Petkovic S, Savic S, Forensic Science International, Volume 220, Issues 1–3, 10 July 2012, Pages 1–5
    2. Payout over water-drinking death, BBC News, 30 October 2009
    3. Temperature of served water can modulate sensory perception and acceptance of food, Mony P, Tokar T, Pang P, Fiegel A, Meullenet J-F, Seo H-S, Food Quality and Preference Volume 28, Issue 2, June 2013, Pages 449–455.
    4. Water: An Essential But Overlooked Nutrient, Kleiner S M, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 99, Issue 2, February 1999, Pages 200–206.
    5. The Effectiveness of a Deep Water Aquatic Exercise Program in Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Cantarero-Villanueva I, Fernández-Lao C, Cuesta-Vargas A I, Del Moral-Avila R, Fernández-de-las-Peñas C, Arroyo-Morales M, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 94, Issue 2, February 2013, Pages 221–230
    6. The Water and Food Nexus: Trends and Development of the Research Landscape. http://info.scival.com/resource-library/waterfoodnexus. (Cooper,J.S. 1983)
    7. Nutrition and water: drinking eight glasses of water a day ensures proper skin hydration—myth or reality? Wolf R, Wolf D, Rudikoff D, Parish L C, Clinics in Dermatology, Volume 28, Issue 4, July–August 2010, Pages 380–383.
    8. Birth control hormones in water: separating myth from fact, Moore K, McGuire K I, Contraception, Volume 84, Issue 2, August 2011, Pages 115–118.
    9.Scopus; World Water Council; UNICEF/WHO.

  •  Comment from Jannifer @ iGOZEN

    It is important to respect our planets water supply at all times. Most of us take it for granted but the planet requires a delicate balance for us to have a constant fresh supply.

  •  Comment from Matthew

    Whenever you have to run the hot water spigot to get the hot water flowing, make sure to bottle the cold water. Not only do you save water but money as well.

  •  Comment from e

    In This household;Dishes are done w/soapy sponge no water in dishpan until rinse. the rinsing is done from dish to dish into pan. Grungy stuff dishwater rinsed into drain basket (then compost). Dishpan water used and reused for rinsing, soaking. Gray water onto garden. Bathroom sink and tub drain onto garden. Short Showers w/bucket and onto garden. Hot tap into filter pitcher so tap runs warmer when hot needed. Rain water gathered off roof. NO car washing. Work/garden Clothes worn for days before washing. Swale planting to maximize moisture. Bottles in vehicle for spring water from the hills. Toilet flushing at a minimum.

  •  Comment from Mike Noel

    Save urine in a capped container large enough to hold a days worth. Pore it into the toilet and flush when the container is nearly full. Occasionally mix some of the saved urine into irrigation water to give your plants a boost.

  •  Comment from Elliots

    Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Turn on only when you want to rinse your mouth.

    Take short showers…it will save you time on busy weekdays and save water too.

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