Today is World Water Day, a day to emphasize the importance of freshwater access and advocate for sustainable freshwater management around the globe. There are currently more than 663 million people who lack a supply of clean, safe water near their homes, and solving all of their water shortages is an enormous task. But you can recognize World Water Day in a significant way just by making a few eco-friendly changes around your home.
World Water Day has been observed every March 22 since it was designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. Each year has a different theme, and the 2017 theme is “Why Waste Water?”, a campaign focused on the benefits of reducing and reusing wastewater.
Trash to Treasure
Globally, more than 80 percent of wastewater from residential, municipal, industrial and agricultural sources is released back into nature with little or no treatment. Whether it’s dumped into a waterway or seeps into the groundwater, this improper disposal contributes to pollution and the spread of disease.
During World Water Day 2017, the United Nations is emphasizing one of its sustainable development goals -- by 2030, the UN aims to “improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.”
Because wastewater that is treated, managed and transported safely can be its own sustainable source of usable water, the UN is working to spread the message that wastewater can be a resource rather than a burden.
Here in the United States, the organization’s message is for individuals to start using more recycled greywater at home, for cities to establish wastewater treatment and recycling systems, and for industry and agriculture to find ways to recycle their wastewater where they work.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The easiest way to get into the spirit of World Water Day at home is to salvage and reuse some water. And if you own a bucket and a shower, a low-tech solution is at your fingertips. Just put the bucket in the tub the next time you take a shower, and reuse whatever you catch. It’s safe for watering plants, and you can even use it to flush the toilet.
There are other ways to collect and reuse water around your home. Consider rerouting your washing machine discharge line into a basin, or setting up rain collection barrels at the bottom of your gutter downspouts.
And if you really want to get invested in greywater recycling, look into home water recycling systems. These sophisticated systems can automatically collect water from tub and shower drains, bathroom sink drains and washing machines, transferring the wastewater to an on-site treatment tank. After filtering, that water is used to flush toilets and run garden sprinkler systems.
Looking for even more ways you can reduce and reuse water at home? Call your local plumber for ideas!