Put Down the Dasani: World Water Day 2011

By Katie, 5:55 am

I will admit that I used to be a bottled water junkie…until I learned just how much harm I was doing by buying plastic bottle after plastic bottle after plastic bottle.

Today, March 22, is International World Water Day, which is held annually “as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.”

Water Facts

  • About 1 billion people in the world lack access to safe, clean drinking water.
  • Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
  • The average American uses 100 to 175 gallons of water per day.
  • The average African family uses 5 gallons per day.
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.
  • Women, who are usually the ones responsible for hauling water, carry on average 45 pounds of water at a time.

Fact Sources: water.org, friendsofwater.com, and blueplanetnetwork.org

What We Can Do

  • Change Our Perspective

It’s easy for those of us who have access to clean water – myself included – to take it for granted: leaving the sink running longer than necessary, taking long showers, etc. We forget that there’s only so much water in the world, so we waste it. To get a handle on it, I recommend checking out National Geographic’s Water Footprint Calculator and/or downloading an App like Water Buddy to help track your water usage.

  • Change Our Behaviors

The tools above can help each of us figure out ways to cut back on our individual water usage. Perhaps one of the easiest is to stop purchasing and consuming bottled water. It’s bad for the environment, and it’s actually not healthier than tap water. The National Resources Defense Council tested 103 bottled waters and found that over 25% were simply tap water. Not to mention there are huge water shortages in the areas where bottled water plants are located.

Here’s a great video explaining the dark side of the bottled water industry.

  • Take Action
  1. Spread the Word. Help educate others about the clean water crisis. You can find good information on water.org and blueplanetnetwork.org.
  2. Donate. Your money can go to building a well in a developing country, buying water filters, or some other means of giving more people access to the clean water most of us already enjoy.

What’s your water usage like? Are you a reformed bottled water buyer like I am?

24 Responses to “Put Down the Dasani: World Water Day 2011”

  1. Karen says:

    I am a reformed water bottle buyer. We used to stock up on a pack of 35 bottles every week at the store. Now I carry around a huge 32 oz. water bottle. I have one at home and one at work so I always have cold water around.

    I try very hard not to waste water doing everyday tasks too – like brushing my teeth, doing the dishes, washing my hands. I try to be as efficient as possible with the water – I’m teaching my kids the same thing!

  2. I used to buy bottled water too. Now, I routinely use a Brita filter and pitcher. I still get bottles occasionally when out and about, but it’s fairly rare… maybe once per week.

  3. What a great thing to be aware of! I drink water from our filtered jug at work, and I fill up a bottle to bring home with me to sip on throughout the night – otherwise I drink straight tap!

  4. I used to be a bottled water drinker, but now I have reusable bottles and we have a Pur water filter pitcher at home. I really don’t mind drinking tap water, and if it helps the environment in the process then I’m all for it.

  5. lauramich says:

    I don’t drink bottled water at home or at work. At home, we have a built-in filtered water dispenser on our fridge (love!). At work, I refill my 1-liter Sigg bottle at least three times a day from the water fountain.

    But I’ll admit it: If I get thirsty while out running errands or on the road, and I’ve forgotten to bring my Sigg or another refillable bottle, I’ll buy a bottle of water. I rationalize that it’s no worse than buying a soda. I’ll also make sure that I finish every drop of the water and then recycle the bottle afterward, treating it as respectfully as possible. Still, I’m strongly considering buying a second refillable bottle to just stow in the car.

    • Katie says:

      I’m very much like you – most of the time I’m bottled water-free, but every now and then I will buy one when I’m out. Stowing a bottle in the car is a good idea!

  6. Having clean water is one of the easist things to take advantage of, I think. When I sit back and think about these statistics, I feel so sad.

    Growing up/living in Colorado, we always just drank tap water because it is so clean there, so most of my life I never even considered using bottled water. Since I have moved to California(and when I have lived other places), we have think about this. I prefer to use a Britta water filter and then always carry around a re-usable water bottle.

    Another thought is that if I think the tap water is so gross in other states, I can’t imagine what it is like to REALLY have no potable water around! We are spoiled for sure.

    • Katie says:

      Definitely. As I gathered the statistics for this post, I too felt quite heart-broken.

      At this point I don’t have a water filter, but when I move I’d really like to get one.

  7. Lisa says:

    Thank you for the reminder. Amazing how easily we forget the reality of the rest of the world.

  8. See, this is why I avoid showering. To save water. Haha, just kidding! (Most of the time…)

    My Nathan bottle is always with me. At home, I fill it from the filter in our fridge (LOVE having one of those!) but I’m not above drinking tap water. As long as it’s reasonably cold, I don’t care where it comes from.

    • Katie says:

      The next time my husband asks why I smell, I’ll just tell him I’m saving water! ;)

  9. I always use filtered water at work and at home; shower saver attachments, etc.

    However, I do occasionally buy a case of bottled water to keep on hand as earthquake supply (I’m in SoCal.) Couple bottles in the backpack in the truck of my car, in my desk drawer, in a cupboard at home… I found keeping the one gallon jugs as earthquake supply LEAK, unfortunately, while the smaller ones do not.

    A film everyone should watch: http://www.flowthefilm.com/

    We are very lucky and blessed in the US to have the good, clean water that we take for granted.

    • Katie says:

      Thanks for the heads up about the film! I’m hoping it comes to Baltimore or DC.

  10. bubu says:

    I have a Sigg bottle I carry everywhere and refill from the Brita at home in the morning and night, sometimes from the 5 gal jug at work if I run out. Bottled water always seemed kind of silly to me, so I only really took one at a luncheon or something when there were no other options. I’m more and more amazed at how being careful about excess packaging, and reusing is not just more eco friendly but SO much cheaper. Water is one example – I’ve also found it with yogurt. Instead of buying individual esrving cups to take to work, I get one big carton for the week, then put some in a single-sized tupperware, add fresh fruit, and put it in my lunch box. Cheaper and tastier. (Of course making my own would be even better, but something is better than nothing!). Cooking in bulk and packing leftovers in reusable containers is also way cheaper than buying prepackaged individual meals. Bringing utensils and washing them at home is not necessarily cheaper but better than using and throwing away the plastic utensils every day…. and on and on – once you adjust your mindset you can make little adjustments everywhere!

    • Katie says:

      Very true!!! I used to buy mini packages of everything, until I realized how bad it was for the environment AND how expensive it was. So much better to buy a big container and divide it up myself! You’re right that there are tons of little adjustments we all can be making.

  11. Sarah says:

    great post katie!! i’m glad you wrote it**you’re a much better writer than me : )
    there are lots of towns all over the world, as close as in appalachia who are not even legally permitted to catch and use the rain water from their own roofs because it is OWNED by bottled water companies. crazy, to think that these companies can own the rain!

  12. Kate says:

    Great post, Katie! I too am a reformed water bottle buyer and it was such a simple switch. I’m also a big believer in “if it’s yellow, let it mellow.” ;)

  13. We used to buy water bottles like CRAZY, but now we use our refrigerator! :)

    YAY for World Water Day 2011! :D

    xoxox
    Kathleen

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