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2012 World Water Day: It Takes a Village to Conserve our Most Precious Resource

Most of us, when we go out for a run, now that spring is kicking in, we always carry a bottle with some fresh water to quench our thirst. When we get home, we may fill up the tub, if the time allows it, or just take a quick but refreshing shower to move along with your busy day. Clean water is also indispensable when cooking either lunch or dinner for the family. Regrettably, we don’t fully realize that our water supply faces shortages in the short term and only by concerted actions we will be able to avert painful lifestyle changes.

On March 22, the United Nations (UN) observes the International World Water Day, bringing awareness to the importance of preserving our freshwater resources. This year, the multilateral body highlights the connections between our global water supply and food security.

According to the UN, “[t]here are over 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050. This means that 70% more food will be needed, up to 100% in developing countries. Besides, with rapid urbanization and incomes increase, diets are shifting. Meat consumption in particular is expected to rise from 37 kg per person per year in 1999/2001 to 52 kg in 2050 (from 27 to 44 kg in developing countries), implying that much of the additional crop production will be used as feed for livestock production.”

These problems are also knocking our doors here at home in the form of extended droughts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts that “drought conditions should persist across much of the southern U.S. and expand in the Southwest through spring.” Check out this map:

Yes, we should be concerned and moved to take action. To help us incorporate easy but meaningful changes to conserve water, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a partnership program called Water Sense. They explain in simple terms the problems we are facing now, what we can expect in the future and what we can do about them. Also, urban communities in Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., New Mexico and Oregon, among many more, are working together to the restoration from their urban water and surrounding land.

At AARP, we offer you advice on how to live a greener life. Remember, this is our planet and we ALL have to contribute to its preservation; because there’s so much we live for.

Learn more about the vital role water plays in your state.

Visit the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization website for more information on global effort to conserve water.

Photo Credits: Corbis & U.S. Drought Monitor’s website.