World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared the 22 March as World Day for Water.
In the UK the average household water used for washing and drinking is about 150 litres a day per person, but we consume about 30 times as much in “virtual water”, used in the production of imported food and textiles.
If we consider virtual water, then we each consume about 4,645 litres a day;
Only Brazil, Mexico, Japan, China and Italy come higher in the league of net importers of virtual agricultural water. People in poorer countries typically subsist on 1,000 litres of virtual water a day;
Different diets have different water footprints.
Vegetarians use approximately 2,000 litres of virtual water whilst people on a meat and dairy-based diet consume about 5,000 litres of virtual water.
What can you do to contribute to WWD?
It’s easy to ignore the plight of the people on the other side of the world who don’t have access to clean water – because we take our water for granted.
It comes from one of the many taps in our homes, all fresh and clean.
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Since 1940 the world’s water use has quadrupled whilst the world’s population has only doubled.
Women spend 200 million hours a day collecting water.
More people have a mobile/cell phone, than a toilet.
1.1 billion people still lack access to fresh water supply and 2.6 billion people need improved sanitation.
Only 0.5% of the world’s water resources are available to provide for the freshwater needs of our planet’s ecosystem and population.
Less than 10 countries possess 60% of the world’s available freshwater supply.
In 60% of the European cities with more than 100,000 people, groundwater is being used much faster than it can be replenished. At the same time, aging water networks systems waste more than 40% of water supply through leaks and cracks.
3.575 million people die each year from water-related disease.
The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war.
People living in the slums often pay 5-10 times more per litre of water than wealthy people living in the same city.
A five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.