Access to clean water is a global concern. Currently, there are many areas in the world facing drinking water shortages. Thus, the number of people affected by this problem is expected to increase continuously each year for various reasons, including climate change and pollution, population growth, the depletion of groundwater and poor water infrastructure. Fortunately, there are many ways you can take action to solve the global water crisis.
Method 1 of 3: Reduce Personal Water Use
Step 1. Close the spout while brushing your teeth
If you get your toothbrush wet when you put toothpaste on it, close the spout while you brush your teeth. Reopen it once you are ready to rinse your mouth and toothbrush.
Also, when you wash your hands or face in the sink, moisten your hands and face and then close the spout. Add soap, scrub for the recommended time, and then open the spout again to rinse
Step 2. Take 5 minute showers
Standard shower heads use 3 gallons of water per minute. That means that during an 8 minute shower you use 90 l (24 gal) of water! If you reduce your shower time by just 3 minutes and try to take 5 minute showers, the amount of water you save will actually increase.
To take 5-minute showers, try one of the following methods: use a shower timer or set a phone alarm that goes off in 5 minutes, listen to a 5-minute song, sing the alphabet song 10 times, and stop at the M on the 11th occasion or count down from 300 during the shower
Step 3. Collect cold water from the shower or install a water-saving shower head
Many people wait for hot water before even taking a shower. If this is your case, collect the clean cold water with a bucket and use it to water the plants or to rinse the dishes. To adjust the rate at which the water flows out of your shower, invest in a water-saving shower head.
Review the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense program at https://www.epa.gov/watersense for more information on water-saving products and services for your house
Step 4. Use biodegradable cleaners
Some household cleaners require a lot of water due to their foaming agents and harmful chemicals. Thus, the amount of water they need in the rinse is greater than that of organic or natural cleaners. Finding “green”, commercial and natural cleaners will help reduce the amount of water you will have to use during cleaning.
To save money on buying green and commercial cleaners, make your own cleaning products using vinegar and baking soda
Step 5. Fix your leaky pipes and pipes
Leaks in the home represent more than 1 trillion liters of water that is wasted per year. Make sure your pipes don't leak; even if it's a slow drip, you'll need to repair that spout. Repairing other leaking pipes right away will not only save water, but it will also save you money on long-term water damage.
- Listen for drips on the walls or floor after using the sink, bathtub or toilet. If you hear something that looks like a drip, see a plumber.
- To see if your toilet tank is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring there. If the color appears in the bowl without pulling the lever, you may need to replace the tank fin.
Step 6. Replace your toilet with one that saves water
Regular toilets flush large amounts of clean water each day. "Water saving" or "double flush" toilets are available at many hardware stores and home improvement stores. Once you have your new toilet, consult a plumber if you need help on how to install it.
Some home improvement stores will install new equipment that you purchase for an additional fee
Step 7. Collect the rainwater for your garden
If you water your lawn or garden plants, put a barrel of rainwater under the gutters on the side of your house. Fill your watering cans with this water by dipping them into the barrel and using that water in your garden. You can also connect a hand pump hose to irrigate the water from the barrel in your yard.
Do not drink untreated rainwater, as it is considered unsafe to drink
Step 8. Take advantage of water-saving patio incentives
If you live in a drought-prone area, there may be cash incentives available to replace the lawns on your property with more sustainable native plants. An example is California's “Cash for Grass” program, which gives money to homeowners to replace grass with native plants that require less water to maintain.
Contact your local urban development agencies to see if there is a water saving program like this one in your area
Method 2 of 3: Protect Drinking Water Sources
Step 1. Use and dispose of harmful materials properly
Hazardous wastes thrown on the ground pollute the land, which in turn can contaminate groundwater or nearby surface waters. Never dump hazardous waste such as motor oil, paint chips or paint cans, household cleaners, or medications on the floor.
Check with your local cleaning or garbage collection agency for guidelines before putting hazardous waste in the trash
Step 2. Use pesticides and fertilizers only when necessary
Many pesticides and fertilizers contain harmful chemicals that pollute groundwater. If you must use pesticides or fertilizers, use it in moderation or check the ingredients to use those that are made from all-natural ingredients. You can also make your own pesticides with organic ingredients like neem oil, Epsom salts, or citrus.
- Make your own neem oil pesticide by mixing 1 tsp (5 ml) of neem oil with ½ tsp (3 ml) of soap and 1 L (32 fl oz) of warm water.
- To make an Epsom salt spray, dissolve 8 fl oz (0.24 L) in 5 gal (19 L) of water. You can also simply sprinkle Epsom salts on the bases of your plants instead of spraying.
- Citrus fruits are especially effective against aphids. To make a citrus spray, grate the zest of 1 lemon and add it to 16 fl oz (0.47 L) of boiling water. Let it sit overnight and then strain the lemon peel that will have the liquid.
- Check if the plants you have need a fertilizer to grow in your garden before using it automatically.
Step 3. Organize a storm drain labeling project
Write a message next to a storm drain and remind people not to dump trash down the street drain as the water runs into a river. Use simple images such as fish, a spout with drops of water, or a person throwing garbage and include a simple message like "Protect your water" or "Go straight to the rivers."
- Get permission to label storm drains in your area by contacting your local Department of Public Works. Search online for your closest city or town along with the words "Public Works Department" to find the phone number and tell them you are interested in doing a storm drain labeling project.
- To create the labels, draw and cut your design on a piece of paper and then spray paint on the design on or near a storm drain.
Step 4. Call your local elected officials if you have concerns in your area
If you are concerned about the shortage of drinking water in your area, contact your elected officials to voice your water concerns and ask that they take action. The https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials website puts you in touch with your state and local elected officials, such as governors, mayors, and county executives within the United States.
- To contact officials outside of where you live, look for the name of the city (for example, "Bogotá") along with the words "ways to help."
- To contact elected officials outside of the United States, do a Google search that says "Contact my elected officials" or "Who are my government representatives?"
Step 5. Contact the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action in a specific region of the country
The Environmental Protection Agency oversees environmental issues such as drinking water protection and accessibility within the United States. On their website you can find many resources on drinking water issues and you can ask questions. Through this website you can also find coordinators for the protection of water sources in your area and report violations of environmental law that could contribute to the decrease in drinking water.
Visit the website https://www.epa.gov/sourcewaterprotection/forms/contact-us-about-source-water-protection for more information on how to contact the EPA regarding the protection of drinking water
Method 3 of 3: Publicize the topic
Step 1. Start a social media campaign to help communities in need
People are often unaware of a problem unless it affects them directly. If you know of a water crisis in a nearby community, get to work on social media to see how you can help. Find ways to join people who are already taking action, or start your own group.
- Ask for volunteers on your social media page to help you start a group dedicated to helping a particular affected region.
- Ask people in the surrounding areas to donate water in jugs to designated drop-off centers within the affected area.
- Reach out to businesses and companies on social media and ask them to donate or help transport water to places with a shortage.
Step 2. Raise money at school or work to donate to waterless communities
Start a fundraiser to benefit a specific nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating a drinking water crisis in a specific area. Organize a small concert, open mic event, or talent show in which people pay a ticket so that you donate the money to a specific group.
- The groups Blood: Water, Lifewater International and Water for Good are groups that partner with underserved communities facing water crises in Africa.
- Generosity.org brings clean water to areas in Haiti, Ghana, Uganda and India.
- Convoy of Hope and the Flint Water Fund are organizations that help with the crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Step 3. Organize a workshop to educate people on the topic of the water crisis
Bring your knowledge about the global water crisis to people who want more information. Choose a place to organize your event. Plan the information you want to share and invite well-informed guest speakers to speak at your workshop.
- Once you have some interested guest speakers, have them commit to a date for the event.
- Create flyers to publicize your event and put them near the place where it will take place. Create an event page on social media and invite people to attend.
- Consider providing some snacks during the event by making them yourself or asking for donations from a local cafe or restaurant.
- Be sure to hand out resources such as brochures, phone numbers, and web pages that list the various ways people can help once they leave the event.