Water use is a major challenge in the age of climate change. We show what this means and how you can easily save water in everyday life
It seems as natural as the air we breathe. Water. We use it for washing, drinking, cooking and often unconsciously. In Germany, the average consumption is 123 liters per capita. However, worldwide, not everyone is able to use water without hesitation. The water guide is essential for a sustainable life.
Although water covers much of our earth, it is unevenly distributed. It is the foundation of the Earth's entire ecosystem. A precious commodity that needs to be protected not only in its quantity but also in its quality.
Everyone can consciously use water.Internal circuits can also be transferred to the individual household. A big part of the water consumption is, for example, the toilet flushing. This could also be supplied with water from the washing machine, dishwasher or rain. However, our top tips for saving water are easier to implement.
Top 5 tips for saving water at home:
- Use water-saving appliances as well as innovative shower heads and fittings
- Establish small habits: Stop the running water while soaping your hands or stop the toilet flush
- Fully load your washing machine and dishwasher - it does not only save water but also time
- Well-tried and yet effective: the collection of rainwater in your own garden or on the balcony
- Drink water from the tap instead of the plastic bottle. Even environment ministers decided in March 2019 that the drinking water directive should be reformed in order to further increase the quality of tap water.
Water in times of climate change
The climate is changing and this also affects the water cycle. Sea levels rise as the water table sinks, extreme droughts and storms increase. But there is also a growing awareness that we can contribute to improvement. According to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, around five billion people could live in XNUMX areas with limited water supply.
In order to meet the needs comprehensively, it is necessary that a rethinking of water use and treatment takes place. 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 of water protection is also efficient for the industry
The new approach to water conservation reveals many new ways in which the 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).
Regeneration of wetlands as protection against natural disasters
A special significance is attributed to the wetlands in the World Water Report 2018. 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, above all, wetlands contribute greatly to the storage and purification of water.
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.
In China, for example, a forgotten tradition is revived, according to which inhabitants of arid areas collect rainwater in their home cellars. For example, UNESCO's "Nature-based Solutions for Water" can be applied to every little ecosystem.