On 22.3.2022 it is World Water Day again. Since 1992, the United Nations has been using this day to draw attention to the importance of water for us humans - this year under the motto "Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible". What a perfect occasion to share some exciting facts about our groundwater with you and to think about how we deal with it without pointing fingers (yes, showers are still allowed ;-)).
Groundwater - that doesn't sound like a special treasure at first. It's just there and when we turn on the tap, it comes splashing out in quite usable quality. Have you ever experienced standing in the bathroom and no water came out? Probably not. And yet water is slowly becoming scarce: 2.2 billion people currently have no access to safe groundwater, and the trend is rising. A global distribution battle has long since broken out over the precious resource of water, which often seems very far away to us here in Central Europe.
Facts about (ground)water
- Without water there is no life: Since water is one of the most important basic needs of humans and animals, it should be owned as a common good by all living beings. Everyone should have free access to water. In practice, this often looks different.
- Water as a source of money: In Germany, groundwater mostly belongs to cities and municipalities. One could say that the state manages the water for its citizens. But in other countries, the privatization of water rights is already well advanced. Out of financial necessity or greed, states sell their water reserves to companies like Coca Cola. With devastating consequences for the people in these countries, who are suddenly faced with wells that have run dry.
- Limited resource: most of the water on our blue planet is salty and therefore not suitable for lemonade, agriculture or sanitation. Only 3% of global water is freshwater - most of it frozen. Our most important source of freshwater is groundwater, providing nearly half of the world's drinking water. Rising consumption (1% per year ), increasing pollution and climate change are turning water into a luxury good that soon only the wealthy will be able to afford.
According to the latest forecasts, it will take until 2070 before we also have to deal with water shortages in Central Europe. Let's not wait until then, but take action now! The best thing you can do is make a difference in your daily life.
3 tips you can try right now.
- Raise awareness about water: The more people who become aware of water issues, the better. But you don't have to become an activist to make a positive impact. Talk about it with your family, friends and at work.
- Use less water in the home: There are many ways to do this - taking showers instead of baths, flushing toilets sparingly or, our favorite, using a flow restrictor on faucets. With this so-called aerator, up to two-thirds less water goes down the drain. This does not noticeably reduce comfort.
- Dispose of water-polluting substances correctly: paint residues, gasoline, oil, medicines or solvents must not be allowed to enter the sewage system. Toxic pesticides for the garden can be replaced with ecological solutions.
Our conclusion: groundwater is an invisible water source with visible consequences for people's lives. Let's pay more attention to it, not only on World Water Day!