water water

Submitted by Susan Miller on Sun, 04/01/2007 - 14:53.

How did we miss this important event when we live right next to a huge body of fresh water? There is nothing I can find in the local media, no proclamations from our water department, no speeches from our local leaders…

Have they forgotten what a wealth we have in our region – a freshwater lake and headwater streams, tributaries, rivers, wetlands, bogs, etc.? We pour sewage into our waters. What is being done to remedy this situation and when will we have a plan to protect this invaluable resource? Our infrastructure is failing, and we send too many gallons of water through aging pipes mixed with raw sewage to our lakes streams and rivers. While we sit idly by watering our precious golf courses people in other parts of the world are dying due to lack of water for sanitation, food and basic hydration. When will we learn that we are part of a larger ecosystem?

 

Check out the site linked below to learn more about the problems we face and then think about it. We all live with the same rain, the same groundwater and surface water. It flows around the globe. It heats and cools, creates storms that cause flooding an destruction in one place and drought in another. We need to find a balance and I fear that this is not one community’s responsibility, but one we must all share. We can do our part. Where do we begin here in Northeast Ohio?

 

Here’s a primer: The Water Cycle

Here you can view the urban watercycle in action: The Natural Water Cycle

 

World Water Day 2007 Coping With Water Scarcity

Here’s a preview:

 

A schoolgirl in rural Ethiopia

A city-dweller in Bolivia

A farmer in Sri Lanka

A factory worker in Romania

 

Different lifestyles, different cultures, one challenge: making sure they have adequate supplies of clean, safe freshwater to improve their lives. Whether they are struggling to grow food in a drought-stricken area or living downstream from a melting glacier, their communities are dealing with tough questions about how to maintain a precious and finite natural resource.

 

Global water use is increasing at more than twice the rate of population growth and more people than ever are learning first-hand about coping with water scarcity.

 

Coping with Water Scarcity is the theme for the United Nation’s World Water Day 2007, which is observed on 22 March. The term water scarcity may conjure up images of drought. But that is only one form of a condition that affects people on every continent. This brochure is designed to explain some of the many conditions which lead to water scarcity and why some people have called it the challenge of the century.

 

An increasing number of regions suffer from chronic water shortages. The problem is most acute in the driest areas of the world. Drylands are home to more than 2 billion people and to half of all poor people. Most countries in the Near East and North Africa suffer from acute water scarcity, as do countries like Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, and large parts of China and India. Most freshwater used in these areas goes towards irrigated agriculture. Three quarters of the Earth is covered by water, but only a small fraction of it is available as freshwater. Of that amount, nearly 70 percent of the water withdrawn is developing countries. And the demand for water is growing. Global population is expected to reach 8.1 billion by 2030 and the need for food worldwide is expected to increase by 55 percent over 1998 figures. At the same time, we will need more water to provide basic sanitation, produce energy, operate industries and support growing cities.

 

No Access

In an industrialized city with plenty of water, flushing the toilet in an average household can send up to 50 litres of water down the drain every day. Yet more than one in six people worldwide – 1.1 billion – don’t have access to 20-50 litres of safe freshwater daily, the minimum range suggested by the UN to ensure each person’s basic needs for drinking, cooking and cleaning.

Two people in five lack proper sanitation facilities, and every day, 3 800 children die from diseases associated with a lack of safe drinking water and proper sanitation.

Access to clean water and adequate sanitation are part of the gulf that separates people who live healthy, productive lives from those who are unable to grow enough food to eat, earn enough income, resist life-threatening diseases and send their children to school. But the haves and the have-nots are all part of the same global fabric. The consequences used to produce food, up to 95 percent in some developing countries. And the demand for water is growing. Global population is expected to reach 8.1 billion by 2030 and the need for food worldwide is expected to increase by 55 percent over 1998 figures. At the same time, we will need more water to provide basic sanitation, produce energy, operate industries and support growing cities.

 

The ability to produce food is essential to reducing poverty and encouraging social and economic development. But increased agricultural production has come at a steep price.

While rainfed agriculture accounts for 80% of the total cropland and irrigated agriculture accounts for 20%, it is this latter that contributes to 40% of the total food production. Still, irrigation has strained groundwater and surface water resistance of the soil with salt deposits and water logging, and reduced naturally-occurring plant and animal species. The agriculture sector must take the lead in meeting a challenge that no one can afford to ignore - finding ways to do more with less water and reducing potential damage to the environment.

 

Even urban areas and countries with plenty of freshwater face the threat of water scarcity. Scarcity is a relative concept, which can mean either an absolute shortage of water or a lack of access to safe water supplies.

 

On every continent, water supplies are being stressed by increases in irrigation for agriculture, urbanization and industrialization. Economic development and urban growth often damage freshwater bodies with increased pollution and sewage runoff can damage freshwater bodies.

 

Water and Wealth

Poor households in developing countries spend higher portions of their income on water than families in industrialized nations.

 

Nature’s Wrath, Nature’s Bounty

The importance of the natural environment must be considered in any move to protect our water resources, but also to protect the future of our planet. Human activity has been linked to climate change and to the intensity of some hurricanes, flooding and other natural disasters that have destroyed crops, contaminated fresh and salt water bodies and damaged water facilities. Such events are all the more devastating when ecosystems which act as natural buffers, such as vital waterways and stable hillsides, have been affected by industry, pollution and deforestation. Natural ecosystems are rich in animal and plant life and they, too, need clean, plentiful water to stay healthy. A healthy and unpolluted natural environment is essential to human development.

The United Nations has developed UN-Water to help Member States achieve water and sanitation goals and targets. Since water touches on so many aspects of our lives, this challenge requires the participation of 24 UN agencies, each of which brings a different set of skills to the table. UN-Water takes the integrated water resources management (IWRM) approach, which is based on the premise that everyone involved, from individuals to governments and international organizations, must share information and decision making to yield the best results.

 

A Shared Responsibility

In recent years, there has been a growing consensus that international, national and local policies must be coordinated to guide more effectively the use of water resources for agriculture and fisheries, urbanization and energy production. This approach is based on the philosophy that water is a shared responsibility.

Lake Erie from above, ours to protect...

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Moebius Nature Center celebrated World Water Day !!

Moebius Nature Center celebrated World Water Monitoring Day... that has to count for something!!  Here is a photo of our sampling rig set up creekside at MNC.  That day our staff Environmental Scientist ;-)  also pulled samples about 2 miles north of mouth of the Cuyahoga River on that wonderful day. 

We have been sampling the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River for many years in  conjunction with the ODNR.  For some photos of the HOG  WALD creatures we  speciate during that one surf into our programming weblog.

 http://moebiusprogramming.blogspot.com/

Scroll down to the blog entry on Oct 16 2006 for pictures of our stream monitoring!


you are doing great work there

Zebra,

Great work! That counts for a lot. I still have it in my mind that you invited us out to the center for a visit. I can't wait. It seems you have the environment and teaching people about it well in hand. I am still surprised that these issues don't make the news in our media. Just not on the radar, I guess, for many people. I am learning and want to learn more. I guess a visit to the Moebius Nature Center is in order.

It would have been great if all the watershed groups in our region could collaborate on a press release regarding what they had planned for World Water Day. There may have been many more quiet activities going on that those who read the local media missed. We know one thing for sure now... a trip to Moebius Nature Center needs to get on the calendar.