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World Water Day
March 22, 2017
World Water Day is an annual event that draws attention to the importance of our freshwater resources. It advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater.
Water is a finite resource. In fact, there is no such thing as “new” water – the amount of water on earth hasn’t ever changed. Water is always moving through a never-ending cycle. When you look at the Earth from space, most of what you see is blue. That’s because 71% of our Earth’s surface is covered in water. With such an abundance of water, why do we need to worry about it?
Well, only 2.5% of the water on earth is freshwater most of
which is stuck in glaciers, ice caps, and the ground. A measly 0.01% is fresh surface water, available for our use. With so little water at our disposal at any given time, it is essential that we use it wisely and keep it clean and un-contaminated.
World Water Day 2017: Wastewater
Sustainable wastewater management is an essential component to preserving our water resources. Traditionally, wastewater flows to a treatment plant where it goes through several steps before being released into a stream or river. Scientists are hard at work devising more sustainable methods to manage our wastewater including projects like the Living Machine.
In DuPage County, most of us get our water from the Great Lakes which hold 20% of the world’s fresh surface water (that measly 0.01%!). We are incredibly fortunate to have such a great resource feeding our taps. After we use that water, it is cleaned and sent down river to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. Not a drop goes back to Lake Michigan! When the water empties into the Gulf of Mexico it can contribute to an annual “dead zone“.
There are tons of ways to help reduce your impact on water resources. Conserve water by finding and fixing toilet leaks and turning the faucet off when brushing your teeth. Prevent pollution by picking up litter, reducing water use during heavy rainstorms, and not dumping anything down storm drains, where water goes directly to a local stream (and is not treated).
World Water Day was declared by the United Nations General Assembly and first celebrated in 1993. Check out past themes here.
Want to show your school is water-savvy? Earn your Water Quality Flag. Check out some more resources for the classroom below.
- The US Geological Survey Water Science School portal
- National Geographic’s Freshwater Teacher Guide
- WaterRocks has fun educational music videos
- SCARCE’s Living Waters Youtube Playlist
- SCARCE’s Watershed Model program is a fun, hands-on in way to learn about how humans impact water. SCARCE does teachers trainings as well as classroom programming on the watershed.
- Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia: US EPA & for Educators
Other Resources & Local Water Groups
The Great Lakes Water Wars – essential reading for anyone living in the Great Lakes region.