We’ve all been there, doing your teeth in the morning and hearing the banshee cry from your mother to ‘Turn the bleedin’ tap off when you’re brushing!’ it’s a staple of our youth and one that we have continued on to our own children. It has been indoctrinated into most of us that conservation of water is key and by leaving the tap running, having a 40 minute shower and running the washing up bowl for one plate we are behaving in a totally unacceptable way that will lead to catastrophic consequences!! But what exactly are they? Were our mothers correct, are we killing the earth by our frivolity with water? Was it simply a lesson in conservation and appreciation? Or at the end of it all was the water bill really just ‘astronomical‘ and needed quickly reducing?
Well there are three ways of looking at why wasting fresh water is bad. Anthropomorphically , biocentrically and ecocentrically
Anthropocentric view point-
(Putting human kind as the central, most important element of existence.)
So this view point is from not a selfish basis but one that focuses on human kind and the effort to keep our species alive, sustained and flourishing. This details how our greed and lack of concern for the water we waste is effectively killing us, so just like everything else we do to ensure that right here and right now we are happy our shortsightedness impedes us from seeing the bigger picture, which is that we are slowly killing our civilisation. I’ll let that sink in and explain.
A minute 1% of the worlds water is fresh water and available for us to consume, when we remove this water it does naturally replenish over time however this replenishment rate is dependant on where the water has been taken from. if the usage rate and replenishment rate marry nicely together then there isn’t much of an issue, it will keep ticking over; different countries are enriched with differing levels of fresh water which all have different replenishment rates, the countries need and use of water then stipulates their usage it is when the usage volume exceeds the replenishment rate this becomes an issue, you cannot have something that isn’t there and this is what causes countries to have the water scarcity that they have today.
Currently there are 36 countries that are living in an ‘extremely high stress’ when it comes to their freshwater supply. the UK currently sits at a low/medium stress level however this will only increase. Wasting water unnecessarily puts our crops, businesses, people in danger. We are fortunate currently in the UK to have water physically on tap, which means that we don’t think about it however every time we leave a tap running we are wasting a precious resource that millions do not even have access too, and providing ourselves with a hefty water bill! The continuation of this will eventually leave all countries with a scarce amount of freshwater in turn causing a a very real threat to the human race.
Biocentric View Point-
(The view that humans are no more important than any other living thing)
Opposing to the above view this one centres around all living beings, we are all apart of the same eco-system and all living things must share all resources not just human beings. The figures and facts above are still very much true however this causes a different problem when we look at the other living beings on the planet. they too live in countries where fresh waster is a little more than scarce due to our over use. A large portion of animals and plants rely on freshwater for survival and as dwindles so do their numbers. Alot of these animals and plants are essential to the full functioning of the earth, for instance without bee’s we would die! To think that we are above the other living things on this earth is painfully narrow minded, when we rely on so many of them so we can live. We are all aware of the amount of animals that are now nearing extinction if not already gone, this number will only increase as the water supply diminishes as the plantation they require struggles to grow and the available drinking water becomes less and less available.
Eco-centric View Point –
(The view that the earth, the Eco system and everything in it hold equal importance)
Not dissimilar to the bio-centric view, this view looks at the earth , the eco-system and everything involved as a whole. On a global scale populations are increasing, The demand for water has never been higher than it is today and as over population takes form we are forced to pull fresh water from other means, such as aquifers and ground water. The regeneration of water within these processes are significantly slower with the regeneration rate being lower than the extraction rate. The un-sustainability of this practices decreases our long terms water security and availability, again we cannot use what we don’t have! As we continue to waste water the necessity to provide more grows. This process is a long one, which includes many steps including extraction, filtration and transportation. While this all sounds simply laborious the effects of these processes hold a much heavier burden with the majority of them requiring a large amount of non-renewable fossil fuels to work, this in turn releases the so often discussed carbon dioxide into the environment and helps cement our carbon footprint onto the earth and continue the rise in the earths temperatures.
So there you have it, Mum wasn’t wrong, it’s all three! By wasting water we are, creating a large water bill, being simply unappreciative and selfish and most importantly are putting an enormous strain on our planets resources and all of its inhabitants, which will eventually lead to something that we cannot control. So save water, save the planet and keep your water bill down, find out how here.