Thursday, March 22, 2012

World Water Day 2012

Today (March 22) is World Water Day 2012. Water is a resource that we sometimes take for granted. After all, we are on the blue planet, covered with  approximately 71% water. Alas only about 3% of the water is freshwater. This freshwater is needed for drinking and hygiene use, irrigation purposes as well as all the modern luxuries that many manufactured goods have provided us. Not only do we need water to bath, drink and wash, but our demand for water extend insidiously into many thing that we have taken for granted.
The UN Water World Water Day 2012 official logo. The logo is available in other languages in their website.

Think about it, besides the water that we drink and shower with, water is needed to make toothpaste and soap, process coffee (how on earth do you think you can extract coffee for instant coffee if you do not use water; the water is removed by spray drying or freeze drying), make the chicken and greens in your salad, the meat in your burgers (cows, chicken, goat and pigs need to drink), the rice and fries, plus stir-fries, chocolate and ice-cream (now you start screaming) bubbly and beer, gin and tonic and lots more other products that we consume, food or otherwise.

Hence it is not shocking to see this in the UN Water World Water Day 2012 website
"statistics say that each of us drinks from 2 to 4 litres of water every day, however most of the water we ‘drink’ is embedded in the food we eat: producing 1 kilo of beef for example consumes 15,000 litres of water while 1 kilo of wheat ’drinks up’ 1,500 litres."

Also from their website, the following recommendations are listed...
Coping with population growth and ensuring access to nutritious food to everyone call for a series of actions we can all help with:
  • follow a healthier, sustainable diet;
  • consume less water-intensive products;
  • reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!
  • produce more food, of better quality, with less water.
Here are some links to pictures from World Water Day 2012 Flickr album highlighting the amount of  'hidden' water in the nice food that we eat. I think it can be very enlightening for those who are unaware of it:
100 gram Rice = 140 L
50 gram Vegetables = 10 L
100 gram other Meat = 1350 L
TOTAL = 1500L embedded WATER
1 tomato, cheese and vegetable pizza (725 gram) = 1246 L embedded WATER
200 gram vegetables = 40L
TOTAL = 40L embedded WATER
150 gram vegetables = 30L
300 gram chicken meat = 1230L
TOTAL = 1260L embedded WATER

On a lighter note, we are very lucky that World Water Day isn't run like Earth Hour. If it is, we would be not using water for a day. That would mean that no shower, no washing, no eating, no drinking and no going to the loo. In jest, I ask my colleagues if doing all of the above is possible. The answer that I got was that complying with the list would not be a problem except for the last item! (no shower - who cares, no eating or drinking - fasting/dieting; no poo poo and pee pee, out of control lah!) So thank goodness no green warrior has gone militant and insist on carrying out World Water Day like Earth Hour!

I guess when we really run out of fresh water resources, then we would be in shit...Well quite literally, for we would be drinking and bathing with shit water NEWater like the Singaporeans do (no offense to Singapore, as it is a good way of utilising wastewater, albeit a very high carbon footprint).