This morning, as soon as I woke up, I used and flushed a toilet, took a bath, brushed my teeth – all with water running inside the house. I feel good and blessed that there is abundant supply of water at home, but eventually thought of people from other parts of the world with no toilet, no access to safe drinking water. I felt a little bad feeling especially conscious about water today, just because it is World Water Day—a global celebration to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. But maybe it has become part of me.
I try to use water wisely, teach my kids not to be wasteful, to use a dipper instead of the shower when they bathe, to use a glass when they brush their teeth and so on. I try to incorporate wise water consumption in my talks to various audiences, and really put conscious effort into conserving water. I feel I do my share, but of course it is not enough. I wish I can do more, but I wish more people would do more.
Water is life, it has been said time and again. But it is not just cliché. Personally, this year has been more special and different because my current work is focused on clean water – its sources, its contamination, how industries impact the present and future availability of clean water. There is deeper appreciation of water as the world’s most precious and vital resource, and there is even a bigger urgency to protect it.
But saving water should not just be a public concern only in times of drought when water is undeniably scarce and threatened, but a matter of day-to-day concern, and it is not just one sector’s concern. Everybody needs water, even plants and animals. If we are to save our water, everybody should do his or her share, however little it is.
The world water supply is finite and dwindling, and it is the only water supply we will ever have. The water we use in our kitchens and bathrooms does not ensure us endless supply of safe, clean water. So it is essential that we do everything we can to sustain it, keep it clean and protects its sources—not just because it is World Water Day, but because we care enough to know how important it is for life.
Abigail Aguilar is Toxics Campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia based in the Philippines.