Still Water is a fictional thriller but it deals in some very real issues!
By now everyone has heard about carbon footprints, but it is our ‘water footprint’ that is creeping up behind us – and it’s the real killer!
The next twenty years are already forecast to bring us ‘water wars’ – and the move to dedicate ever more agricultural land to bio-fuels is set to make this much worse!
When you consider the vast oceans of the world that encompass two-thirds of our globe then it seems crazy to imagine that there could be any shortage. But useable water is another matter, less than a fortieth of the earth’s water is not salty, and two-thirds of that drinkable water is permanently locked away, frozen within glaciers and at the poles.
Far too much of the remaining third of this useful water lies or falls in the wrong places. It may come in too much of a rush as monsoons or floods, it may fall upon remote areas where it cannot be ‘harvested’ or it may be held deep within underground aquifers.
We humans can last without shelter as long as we choose, some have managed without food for as long as a month, but we can last only three to five days without water!
A fifth of the world’s population, 1.4 billion people, currently lack a safe water supply. A further two-fifths, another 2.8 billion, live without secure sanitation – that’s why five million die each year from water-related diseases including a shocking 2.2 million children under the age of five.
What is your water footprint? It’s a measure of water consumed in producing foodstuffs and other products. For example, when you buy a litre of water in its plastic bottle be aware that the bottle manufacture used almost seven litres – this figure ignores getting the water extracted and transporting it to the shop. A sheet of A4 paper uses water when growing the original tree and then again in its manufacture – every single sheet consumes a massive ten litres!
Efficiently producing each kilo of wheat uses 1,100 litres, every kilo of rice takes 2,300 litres and a kilo of beef uses 22,000 litres of water – and in many parts of the world production is far from efficient.
We’re all downstream!