Water crisis can also be used to describe those with access to water in developed countries, but with a dwindling supply because of population growth, using this scarce resource inefficiently, and from changing environmental conditions. By 2050, urban cities will have to support 3 billion more inhabitants than today, and urban planning to meet these growing needs has been mostly focused on industry and agriculture, with little thought to drinking water and sanitation. Making matters more complicated, add in climate change and Mother Nature’s recent tendency towards unpredictable weather patterns such as floods and droughts. However, this water crisis doesn’t just affect growing population centers like China and India fighting over Himalayan glacier run-off, but hits much closer to home for most of us.
Even US cities are running water deficits- water demand in the US has tripled in the last 30 years, while population has grown at only 50%. (I found this list of the ten US cities that are running out of water interesting.) In this area, we as consumers can have a direct impact by being informed of how the everyday choices we make impacts water use. Americans use 106 gallons for daily drinking, washing, and cooking. (For contrast, in developing countries, its only 2½ gallons a day.) So, what can we do to cut back on our daily use? Take showers, but shorter ones. When I was young, my brother won a science fair with a project “what uses more water, a shower or a bath?”. Turns out, it is a bath, but it depends on how long you shower for. A bathtub holds 11 gallons of water. (noting that someone in a slum may only get 1½ gallons total for daily needs!) Taking a quick shower is an easy start- if you cut your shower time by 5 minutes you’ll save up to 20 gallons of water per shower. Another easy way to cut back- carry a reusable water bottle. It takes 1.85 gallons to make the average plastic bottle! Of course, I recommend the S'well bottle! (www.swellbottle.com)