‘Whatever we do to the water bodies on this planet, we’re doing to ourselves.’
Both Earth and our human bodies consist of 70% water and 30% solids.
‘On this planet the water cycle and the life cycle is one,’ said Helen Lockart of the Two Oceans Aquarium on World Water Day. Water is our lifeline – without water we cannot survive longer than a day or two. Most people are aware that our water resources are under threat, particularly since the escalating global warming. But there are many other threats too moving in and simply taking the lifeline of people across the world. We are all affected by this.
To celebrate World Water Day, we were invited to the premiere screening of Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary FLOW: For Love of Water. Partly shot in South Africa, this documentary investigates the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st century: the world water crisis.
Respect leads to solutions
FLOW is a national campaign to help instill a deep appreciation, understanding and respect for water. It aims to raise awareness of water quality and quantity challenges on both a local and national level, while providing practical solutions to ensure that all are provided with clean safe drinking water.
This movie is both informative and educational, and required viewing if you feel called to help craft solutions to our pressing problems. Following are some facts from the movie that I found significant:
‘Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.’ Jane Austin
Two million people die yearly of waterborne diseases. Rivers are described as the veins and arteries of the earth body, flowing into the ocean, the heart. This heart exhales and inhales water, keeping it circulating and fresh, feeding all forms of life. Likewise we have 60 000 miles of arteries in each human body, pumped by the heart.
In the USA alone 7 million people get ill per year from drinking contaminated tap water. Bad water kills more people than wars. Worldwide more than 30 000 people die every day due to contaminated water.
Contributing factors to the water crisis are:
- Some 116 000 man-made chemicals which find their way into our water sources. Think of fertilizers, sprays, drugs and medication. These chemicals are changing the body chemistry of creatures in the rivers. In the USA frogs have been found to change sex, all becoming female due to the endocrine disrupting properties of a poison called Atrazine. What is this doing to human bodies?
- Thirty years ago, during the ‘green revolution’ in India, chemicals were introduced into their agricultural systems. Since these chemicals in the soil needed to be diluted, it increased their water needs by 5 to 10 times.
- There are a number of huge companies who have ‘purchased’ the water rights from many poor communities across the planet, promising to deliver to them potable water in taps. Then they try to sell this water back to the community, who cannot afford to buy it. Bolivia is one such example where folk were forced by the World Bank to allow the privatisation of water. Here one in 5 children die before the age of 10 from a lack of clean drinking water.
- There are South African communities who suffer from polluted rivers – they can’t afford the purifying tablets to clean the dirty river water. Sometimes they wait for up to 4 weeks for clean water. Private companies were first welcomed with open arms, due to their promises of improving the lives of those dependent on clean water. But now they must pay for water, which forces them to go back to the polluted rivers to meet their needs. The Chatsworth community outside Durban is one such example.
- Multinationals promise to end poverty, but they are in fact taking away water from the poor. Corporate water interests are growing and claiming more and more water for themselves. It is now called ‘blue gold’; a commodity to sell. The water sector is set to grow 2-3 times the global economy over the next few years.
- Damming up rivers have also displaced millions of people across the planet, and plunged them into poverty. Many more dams are planned – an unnatural system of blocking the flow and creating rotting materials which emit methane gas … contributing to global warming. See our story on the Omo river and planned Gibe III dam.
The ethical question arises … whose water is it? Who can really lay claim to a natural resource, provided to us free of charge by the Creator? Water indicates survival. Whoever owns the water, owns survival. We need a friendship relationship with nature, not one in which we simply take and give nothing back. We need an organised army of water activists! Join up!
What can we do?
- Share this movie with your family, your children’s school, at work, at church.
- Engage your family in a discussion around the sacredness of water and what you can all do to use less and conserve our most precious resource. Draw up a family action plan.
- We should all be installing rain water tanks, as harvesting rain water is the natural way to receive your personal quota. Let’s also look at each twinning with a township family to ensure a mass roll-out of tanks across the country. Our circle of influence includes those who work for us.
- Grey water harvesting is the way to water our gardens. Chuck out your toxic cleaners to ensure only biodegradable products are used, which is safe in your garden. Or ditch cleaners completely by using a wash ball which attracts dirt to itself magnetically. I believe flushing a toilet with drinking water in Africa is crazy. Have your system so piped that your toilets are flushed with grey water.
- All swimming pools should be covered whenever nobody’s swimming. More than 10 litres of water evaporates per day off our open swimming pools. Work out how many litres evaporate per year! See our story on the water guzzlers here.
- Replace all your normal shower heads with slow flow shower heads that allows no more than 12 litres of water per minute – this is stipulated by the City of Cape Town’s new bylaw. All other shower heads are now illegal. Draw a line in the bath for those girls who still can’t resist a good soak – and share the bath!
- The paper industry gulps vast quantities of water to grow and process all those alien pine trees.
- Refuse all bottled water, as it takes many litres to bottle and transport that water and in terms of purity this industry is much less regulated than tap water. Insist on filtered water in restaurants. Ask and ask again until it happens. Use a water filter in your house. Take your own water bottle with filtered water along when you go out. Check out the great new clean, toxin-free water bottles sold by FLOW.
- Remember that all energy saving – of fossil fuel sources – saves all the mega litres that’s used in the generation of coal fired electricity. So each time you save power, you save water too.
- Don’t bypass a leaking tap without making sure that it’s attended to immediately.
- Bless all water before you consume it – it restructures the water so that your body can integrate it for healing.
- Adopt your closest river and fight for our water. Our lives depend on it.
- Spread the word.