Drops of Water
Here, you will find information (facts and figures) about water, together with a list of references that will help you prepare and realize your storyboard. Whether or not your work is selected, your taking part in this exciting endeavour will be a unique opportunity to raise awareness, and to learn something new about water and what you could do to safeguard such a precious element for our lives!
Water covers 70.9% of Planet Earth. It is vital for our survival as well as a rare and valuable resource. The Earth’s water is mainly found in the oceans and seas but being saltwater it is not usable (97.2%). The freshwater available on Earth is only 2.8% .
From this extremely small amount:
- 2.2% is found in glaciers and in the ice caps at both Poles
- 0.6% is found underground (a large part is usable)
- 0.01% is found in rivers and lakes (also artificial resources)
- 0.01% is found in the atmosphere (vapour; clouds; precipitation)
- more than a million persons today do not have sufficient access to quality water resources
- every year 3.4 million persons (of which 5,000 children per day) die due to illnesses transmitted by unsafe water When an essential resource such as water becomes scarce, the threat of conflict amongst people also arises. Many UN agencies and international organizations are elaborating methods of conflict prevention.
We can all contribute to reducing this risk by increasing our awareness and our commitment to reduce our ecological imprint on the planet by:
- reducing domestic wasting and loss of water
- reducing the use of laundry detergents and polluting substances
- recycling/re-utilizing water for plant irrigation
- rediscovering and promoting traditional techniques and knowledge
During the centuries, human society has demonstrated its capacity to adapt to numerous adverse conditions, by using its knowledge to develop new techniques to better manage the earth and the use of scarce water resources. Examples are dry walls; terracing; desert oasis; wells; irrigation canals; the recycling of water within the urban settings.
These traditions are the foundations where science and culture have developed and progressed locally and have elaborated these methods of managing the world’s ecosystems and cultural heritage. Today these traditions are leading indicators to discover new solutions to the existing problems while saving and using minimal amounts of energy and natural resources in particular water.
Based on these figures only 0.01% of all of the Earth’s water is effectively available for our consumption and for the planet’s ecosystems.
Therefore…we can’t waste water!
This resource is becoming more and more rare and difficult to manage due to a series of inter-related motives:
- the world’s population is in continual growth which causes a yearly decrease in the quantity of freshwater available per person
- the use of water for industries (28%) and agriculture (70%) has skyrocketed in the last decades thus reducing the world’s water resources for human water consumption to only 8%
- these industrial and agricultural activities together with urbanization contribute to the pollution of our water supplies thus effecting to drastically reduce the availability of freshwater for humans and the ecosystems. Today, there are over 40 countries which do not have sufficient water resources for their citizens.
The worldwide climate change situation also contributes in drastically modifying the availability of freshwater. For example, the catastrophic flooding in certain regions of the world and increasing desertification in other areas. One quarter of the planet is today threatened by these phenomena.