#WorldWaterDay: Its time you ‘Shut That Tap’

Tap water running into a kitchen sink

I mean shut the tap promptly and properly because neither President Donald Trump with his anti-climate change stance nor President Muhammadu Buhari or his counterparts at the state level is going to do it for you.

The same way we waste a lot of energy by leaving light bulbs on during the day or ventilation fans on in rooms where there are no occupants; Nigerians tend to waste a lot of water in our daily use.

The WHO released some mind boggling statistics about potable water and the people suffering from the abject lack of it across the globe.

More than 40 per cent of the worlds’ population live in water stressed locations while two billion people the world over, only have access to water that has already been contaminated by faeces and other pollutants.

In response to these continued shortages, some people have resorted to the reuse of wastewater (i.e water used to rinse clothes or dishes being employed to flush the toilet etc).

While these are condemn able acts, due to the poor or absent treatment for waste water in developing countries, this only further places them in the firing line of water borne diseases.

The amount of water available for human usage out of the vast amounts of water present in the blue planet is actually quite small.

Of the 70 per cent of the earth’s surface that is covered by water a whopping 97 per cent is stored in the world’s oceans and seas.

The inaccessible glaciers and ice caps further hold on to 2 per cent of fresh water, leaving the entire over 8 billion people to eke out a living with just 1 per cent from rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and the groundwater.

Growing up, my mom always admonished us for wasting water especially while brushing or doing the dishes as she had read that there were children in Somalia who had to trek upwards of 5km just to access drinkable water.

It was not until water shortages during secondary and tertiary school that I realized that water scarcity could really lead to serious hygienic situations as well as its accompanying water borne diseases due to the fact that people out of desperation resort to unhealthy water sources.

So once again I say to those fortunate to have pipe borne water in their homes (either private borehole or public mains) please learn to shut the tap properly.

Nowhere is the adage “little drops of water” more apt than the individual drops that leak out of a tap that is not sealed shut.

If you ever measured how much water is lost in an hour from a faulty faucet in an hour, the amount potentially lost in an entire day would be astonishing.

And to think that there hundreds of thousands of people across the globe who do not have access to this water is frightening.

According to United Nations records, by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions.

Nicholas Ojo-Awo is an environmentalist

Like food shortage, water shortage is a frightening reality that is stirring us in the face and we need to shut that tap to preserve what might soon become golden many years the line.

As we celebrate World Water Day, let’s learn to cherish water because it is all we have got.

Like Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, legendary Nigerian Afrobeat musician once sang, even if water kills your child, its water that you will still use to bath that child.

Water is the reason for our existence and we need to preserve our existence. And also for this reason we should celebrate the World Water Day.

The World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on 22 March. The day focuses attention on the importance of universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in developing countries.

The day also focuses on advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

World Water Day is supported by stakeholders across the globe. Many organizations promote clean water for people and sustainable aquatic habitats.

Events such as theatrical and musical celebrations, educational events, and campaigns to raise money for access to clean and affordable water are held worldwide on or close to 22 March.

UN-Water selects a theme for each year.

Previous themes included: ‘Why waste water?’ (a play on words with ‘Why wastewater?’) in 2017, ‘Water and Jobs’ in 2016, and ‘Water and Sustainable Development’ in 2015.

The first International World Water Day, designated by the United Nations, was commemorated in 1993.

Nicholas Ojo-Awo is an environmentalist who has written papers on modern landfills, groundwater pollution and dump sites contamination.

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