World Water Day 2009

Yesterday marked the 16th annual United Nations World Water Day, a day of advocacy for sustainable and careful management of clean freshwater supplies worldwide. This year’s theme was “Shared Water – Shared Opportunities.” The goal of the theme is foster goodwill and collaboration among neighboring nations to promote working together to preserve their waterways. More than 45 percent of the world’s surface is covered by river basins shared by more than one country, according to the WWD site, and 40 percent of the world’s people live in these basins.

An impressive host of events is taking place to raise awareness worldwide. In Washington, DC, proceeds from glasses of tap water purchased at selected restaurants will benefit clean water programs. “Water walks” have taken place across the world, from India, Pakistan and Malaysia to Germany and Greece. Citizens of Canada have even started the National Toilet Seat petition, in which residents will send signed toilet seats to Parliament to “make a stink” about the world water crisis.

The shortage of clean water is a sleeper issue that has slowly crept up on humanity and been mostly overshadowed by the seemingly more pressing specter of climate change. But shifts in ecosystems that come with a changing climate can upset natural water systems and in turn create a negative feedback loop. Like the world’s climate, our water supplies know no political boundaries, and the decisions (or lack thereof) of one country have the potential to greatly affect others.

Of course ecologists like to think they’re good about conserving in general. But are you doing all you can to avoid wasting water?  Here’s a 100-point checklist.

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Author: Christine Buckley

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