Water conservation is a major challenge in the age of climate change. In the water guide, we show you what this means and how you can save water in your everyday life
It seems as natural to us as the air we breathe – water. We use it for washing, drinking, cooking, and often quite unknowingly. In Germany, the average consumption is 129 liters per capita. But not everyone gets to use their water without hesitation. The Water Guide is essential for sustainable living and shows simple ways to save water.
Although water covers much of our earth, it is unevenly distributed. Because water is much more than a food, industrial or transportation resource. It is the basis for the entire ecosystem of the earth. A precious commodity that must be protected not only in its quantity but also in its quality. At the Water Footprint Network, anyone can determine their own water footprint. It becomes clear that e.g. per kilogram of meat about 15.000 liters of water are consumed in the production of one kilogram of conventional cotton and around 11.000 liters of water.
Everyone can use water consciously. Internal circuits are also transferable to the individual households. A large part of water consumption is, for example, flushing the toilet. These could also be supplied with washing machine water, dishwasher water or rainwater. Easier to implement are our top tips for saving water.
Top 6 water advice tips for saving water in the home:
- devices that use water saving as well as innovative shower heads and faucets
- Small habits like turning off the water when soaping your hands or using the stop button when flushing the toilet
- Fully loaded washing machines and dishwashers not only save water, but also time
- Time-tested and yet so effective is the collection of rainwater in your own garden or on the balcony
- Drinking water from the tap instead of the plastic bottle. Because companies often do not act sustainably and accept social as well as ecological consequences.
- Support organization that support clean drinking water and sanitation worldwide, such as e.g. Viva Con Agua
Water advisor in times of climate change
The climate is changing and this is also affecting the water cycle. Sea levels rise while groundwater levels fall, extreme droughts and storms increase. But there is also a growing awareness that we can do something to improve it. According to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, some five billion people could be living in areas with limited water supplies by 2050.
A rethinking of water use and treatment is needed to meet demand across the country. In the 2018 World Water Development Report, UNESCO introduces a whole new approach. Instead of relying on artificial water systems as in the past, the focus is on traditional and natural solutions.
Cost-intensive and modern water treatment plants, reservoirs or irrigation canals are often counterproductive, especially in regions with a weak infrastructure. Large-scale irrigation systems and reservoirs cause a lot of water to evaporate.
New approach to water conservation efficient water saving for industry
The new approach to water conservation reveals many new ways in which industry, as well as every individual, can contribute to a healthy and conscious water supply. Operators of industrial plants can redesign processes to reduce water consumption in general while converting it to an internal cycle. For example, cooling water is used for fish farming when it is warm.
It has also been found that it is cheaper and more effective to treat wastewater directly at the industrial plant than if it is first mixed with other wastewaters. Aiming for so-called wastewater-free companies (zero-effluent strategy).
Regenerating wetlands to protect against natural disasters
The World Water Report attaches special importance to wetlands. The concept of Nature-based Solutions for Water focuses on water as part of a natural process of evaporation, precipitation and percolation. Forests, meadows and especially wetlands contribute greatly to the storage and purification of water.
A number of natural disasters in the recent past, such as Hurricane Katrina in the USA in 2005 or the tsunami on the Chilean coast in 2010, could have been much smaller in scale if natural wetlands had not been destroyed in advance by humans. Now they are to be regenerated in some countries.
China, for example, is reviving a forgotten tradition of water conservation: residents of arid areas collect rainwater in their home basements. UNESCO’s Nature-based Solutions for Water can be applied to any ecosystem, no matter how small.