Precious Water

Blog by Sr. Roberta Miller, OP

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. Did Noah in the Ark think the same as they all floated for 40 days? We assume God sent down sufficient rain to quench their thirst. Still—anxiety must have existed. What about us in 2019? Are we assuming God and technology will provide us with sufficient fresh water in these times of climate change with its overwhelming precipitation or drought as well as rising temperatures? Are we making peace with our water or waging war?

Some facts can frame our world’s water situation:

  • 98% of earth’s water is salt
  • Less than 1% of our total fresh water is available for human use
  • Water consumption since 1900 has increased 10-fold with population growth, economic development in industry and agricultural mass production
  • Fresh water scarcity has increased 20% with depletion of water aquifers, melted glaciers, destruction of lakes, streams, watersheds, and pollution

The human body stops functioning after going without water for 3-4 days. Each American (you and I) at home uses an average of 88 gallons (333 liters) of water daily. Our hygienic needs in handwashing with soap after/during activities, food preparation take 4-5 gallons of water. As fresh water scarcity increases on Earth, one-half of our current global population lives in deprived water areas for at least one month a year. This water scarcity exists on every continent. By 2020, 1.8 billion people will experience no water and another two-thirds will have very limited access to it.  What are ways you and I can reduce an everyday water routine—not run water when brushing teeth?

Having water for life is a human right—not a commodity. Water security means access to sufficient quantities of clean water for food, sanitation, and health care.  Are you aware that here in the US—and in OH—individuals/families go without water because they cannot afford to pay for or buy it? Cities and towns in their need to repair/update/expand their public water infrastructure (ex. Corroded/broken pipes or valves) and to adjust to changing climates are raising water rates.  The trend toward privatization of public utilities such as city water in the name of efficiency and expense endangers public access to this human right. The Corporations of Nestles/Perrier, Danone, Pepsi, Coca Cola see the increasing water crisis as economic opportunity as they pump water from springs, aquifer/underground sources, and lakes (as Lake Michigan and Superior) to bottle in plastic for purchase by us and in other countries. Do you recall the bulk packages of water bottles unloaded for the destitute residents of Detroit or Puerto Rico? Did the bottling corporations freely donate?

We cannot just wring our hands; it is not que sera, que sera. To make peace with water, we must keep tabs on the proposals and actions of our government officials, of business /legal entities proposing public budget savings.   We avoid buying bottled drinks and encourage relatives/friends to do also; we use waste containers to avoid polluting streets and streams. How do you plan to make peace with our precious water?

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

5 responses to “Precious Water

  1. I do thank you for your reflection. I am not an active Activist, but I watch my water use in my own small way! Your comments at least tell me that even that bit enters the count

  2. Dear Sister Roberta,
    Thanks for the shocking reminder of the limitations of our water supplies. It makes me reconsider my our need to devote ourselves to the environment.

  3. Excellent Roberta, very well stated and so true. It was so difficult for my family in Puerto Rico to be without water yet the Island is surrounded by water. I think of other parts in our world that being without water is the norm. We are so blessed to have water, yet how much do we waste. God help us!

  4. Thank you Roberta for your very informative reflection on
    water. I take water so much for granted and you have
    challenged me to rethink how I use water for washing,
    drinking, cleaning, and will be more conscious of conserving water for love of others. This will be a good
    Lenten reflection and practice.
    Blessings and peace,

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