Wasting water is a major challenge in the age of climate change. In the water guide we show what that means and how you can easily save water in everyday life
It seems as natural to us as the air we breathe - the water. We use it for washing, drinking, Cook and often quite unconsciously. In Germany, the average consumption is 123 liters per capita. But not everyone can enjoy using their water without hesitation. The water guide is essential for a sustainable life and shows simple ways to save water.
Although water covers much of our earth, it is unevenly distributed. Because water is much more than a food, industrial or Means of transport. It provides the basis for the whole ecosystem of the earth. A precious commodity that needs to be protected not only in its quantity but also in its quality. At the Water Footprint Network everyone can determine their own water footprint. It becomes clear that, for example, per kilogram Meat around 15.000 liters of water are used and around 10.000 liters of water are used to produce one kilogram of conventional cotton.
Everyone can consciously use water. Internal cycles can also be transferred to the individual household. A large part of the water consumption is, for example, flushing the toilet. These could also be supplied with washing machine, dishwasher or rain water. Our top tips for saving water are easier to implement.
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Top 5 water advice tips for saving water in the household:
- Devices that save water and use innovative shower heads and fittings
- Establish small habits: Stop the running water while soaping your hands or stop the toilet flush
- Fully loaded Washing machines and dishwashers - it does not only save water but also time
- Tried and tested and yet so effective is the collection of rainwater in your own garden or on the balcony
- Drinking water from the tap instead of the plastic bottle. Politicians want that too, environment ministers decide to reform the drinking water directive in order to further improve the quality of tap water.
- Support organizations that support clean drinking water and sanitary facilities worldwide, for example Viva Con Agua
Water guide in times of climate change
The climate is changing and that also affects the water cycle. Sea levels rise while groundwater levels fall, extreme droughts and storms increase. But there is also growing awareness that we can do something to improve. According to Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, around five billion people could live in areas with limited water supplies by 2050.
In order to secure the demand across the board, it is necessary that there is a rethinking of water use and treatment. In the World Water Development Report 2018, UNESCO presents a completely new approach. Instead of relying on artificial water systems as before, the focus is on traditional and natural solutions.
Cost-intensive and modern water treatment plants, reservoirs or irrigation channels are often counterproductive, especially in regions with weak infrastructure. Large-scale irrigation systems and reservoirs allow much water to evaporate.
New approach to water protection efficient water saving for industry
The new approach to water conservation reveals many new ways in which industry as well as individuals can contribute to a healthy and conscious water supply. Operators of industrial plants can redesign processes so that water consumption generally decreases and at the same time is converted into an internal cycle. For example, cooling water is used in the warm state for fish farming.
It has also been found that it is cheaper and more effective to purify wastewater directly in the industrial plant than when it is first mixed with other wastewater. The goal is so-called wastewater-free companies (zero-effluent strategy).
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Regeneration of wetlands as protection against natural disasters
Wetlands are of particular importance in the World Water Report. The concept of “Nature-based Solutions for Water” focuses on water as part of a natural process of evaporation, precipitation and seepage. Forests, meadows and especially wetlands contribute to the storage and purification of water to a large extent.
A large number of recent natural disasters, such as the Hurricane Katrina 2005 in the US or the tsunami on the Chilean coast 2010, could have been significantly lower in size if natural wetlands were not previously destroyed by humans. Now they are to be regenerated in some countries again.
China, for example, is reviving a forgotten tradition of saving water: residents of dry areas collect rainwater in their house cellars. In this way, UNESCO's “Nature-based Solutions for Water” can be applied to every ecosystem, no matter how small.