July 3rd, 2012
Providing Relief with Water Conservation by Harper Mac
For most people, access to an abundance of fresh, clean water is a given. Whether it’s filtered from the refrigerator or sold in a bottle, we all have it at our fingertips, and we rarely think about the possibility of running out of this essential resource. However, nearly one billion people in the world live without access to water they need to get through the day. Fortunately, there are several resources that can help people who need access to water, and you can take steps to help people living in these situations.
Slow Sand Filters
Slow sand filters are contraptions people can use to filter polluted water so it’s suitable for drinking. They’re effective and economical. Once installed, one slow sand filter can serve up to four families for 10 full years. However, people suffering from water shortages can’t always afford to install these machines on their own. To help these people, you can send money to organizations that provide slow sand filters, or you can travel to these areas and help with the installation processes.
Reducing Your Water Intake
Even though most people feel like they have an unlimited supply of water available at all times, this isn’t actually the case. In fact, most of the United States is currently experiencing draught conditions. In Colorado, wildfires have destroyed hundreds of homes and more than 18,000 acres of landscape.
The more water you use at home, the less there is available for the other people in the world who need it. By limiting your water footprint, you can do your part to solve water shortages in other areas. To reduce the amount of water used in your home, consider installing low-flow showerheads and toilets. You can also reduce water usage by fixing leaks and washing only full loads of laundry.
Digging Water Wells
In some locations, such as Africa, water shortages can be reduced or eliminated with water wells. However, like the slow sand filter, water wells are often unaffordable for the affected population. To help bring water wells to these locations, you can either donate money or volunteer to help dig the wells in the affected country. After the digging is complete, these wells can be used indefinitely.
In areas where other water sources are scarce or polluted, collecting fresh rainwater is an excellent way to supplement the existing water supply. Rainwater collection can be performed using rainwater runoff storage systems and water pans, which are excavated ponds designed to trap water and store it as it falls. Because rainwater falls fairly regularly, these methods are particularly effective for increasing the amount of fresh water available in areas with a limited supply.
Living without access to water is not only inconvenient, but it can also increase the risk of fire and undermine the health of communities. By donating money to charities that help people gain access to water, and by monitoring your own water usage levels, you can help other people access fresh, potable water.