The world water crisis is no small affair. From regional droughts to contaminated water supplies and wells running dry, there are a lot of people without access to safe water.
- Around 1.2 billion people live in areas with consistent water scarcity.
- Roughly 4 billion people live in areas that experience water shortages at least one month a year.
- Over 600 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water due to pollution or lack of sanitation. (That’s almost twice the population of the United States.)
Thankfully, there are a lot of ways we can solve these problems. Here are some of the most promising solutions for the world water crisis.
1. Restoring nature’s built-in water purification systems.
Mangroves, flood plains, water meadows and wetlands — including marshes, swamps and bogs — are all ecological features that naturally filter and clean the world’s water supply. With the help of their plants and root systems, they control erosion and filter sewage, metals and chemicals out of the water. They also limit flooding, which can increase erosion and water pollution.
2. Increasing our soil’s water retention.
Deforestation and modern agricultural practices have led to massive erosion and drought. Why?
Without the root systems of trees, native grasses and other plants to hold it in place, soil has a difficult time retaining water and staying in place, instead of washing away. Regenerative agriculture and reforestation help soil to hold onto water, which in turn encourages healthy evaporation and waterfall patterns.
3. Reducing wasteful agriculture practices.
Agriculture requires a lot of water. In the US, 80 percent of the freshwater we use each year goes toward food production. While we have plenty of water for enough agriculture to support our population, we don’t have enough for gratuitous use.
Food waste is a major culprit of wasted water. An estimated 40 percent of food in the US goes uneaten. If we were able to reduce our food waste, we could significantly cut back on our water consumption. In addition to cutting back on the food we waste at home, we also need to find solutions for food that’s wasted at all points along the supply chain: on farms, during shipping and processing, in grocery stores and in restaurants.
4. Changing water consumption habits.
The average American household uses over 300 gallons of water per day. Through easy, affordable changes, such as switching to low-flow water fixtures, you can cut back on your home water consumption by 35 percent or more. Learn more about how to use less water at home.
5. Implementing reliable water systems.
In order to make sure every community has access to safe water, we need to make sure that each one has a working system to provide clean water year round. That may involve desalination, groundwater wells, piped water systems, water filtration and purification, and/or rainwater harvesting.
The progress of desalination has been slow, and the technology is still expensive and difficult to scale. However, the cost has slowly been decreasing as the technology continues to evolve. Globally, over 300 million people now receive their water from desalination plants.
Help Us Create a More Sustainable World
At Skyewater Photo + Film, we’ve made a commitment to support programs and nonprofits around the world who are working hard to clean waterways, reduce plastic waste, and improve the global water crisis. Learn more about our donation program, or explore more ways you can get involved and help us make a difference.