World Water Week: Value Every Drop

by Helmy Sa'at

We are all aware of some basic facts pertaining to water. This precious natural resource covers about 70 per cent of Earth, the only planet we all call home. At the same time, our bodies are also made up of about 60 per cent of water. These are not just fun facts to be forgotten after a period of time. It is indicative of water’s monumental significance, which upon scrutiny, it truly pervades every facet of our lives.

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Waking Up To Harsh Reality

Water is easily taken for granted as most of us would never give a second thought to its inherent value due to its availability and ease of access. As the world is descending deep into an existential threat that is affecting us all, we are left to deal with the climate emergency on borrowed time. The time for change was yesterday. Does it spell doom and gloom for mankind? Yes. However, do we give up by stop trying? No.

As champions of the Earth and ultimately our very own precarious existence, at times our focus and green habits, such as recycling and upcycling – both intentionally and unintentionally – have been preoccupied with certain approaches and resolutions.

The motivations behind it are varied and it could stem from personal preference, prioritising convenience, following trends of the green sector perpetuated by some influencers to lacking of knowledge in such a specialised subject matter. Knowledge paired with an openness of mind is key to growing and ensuring a deeper understanding of the best ways to tackle the issue. Deeper understanding and appreciation of issues at hand would contribute to meaningful actions.

It Is Not Just About Thirst

وَمَا يَسْتَوِى ٱلْبَحْرَانِ هَـٰذَا عَذْبٌ فُرَاتٌ سَآئِغٌ شَرَابُهُۥ وَهَـٰذَا مِلْحٌ أُجَاجٌ ۖ وَمِن كُلٍّ تَأْكُلُونَ لَحْمًا طَرِيًّا وَتَسْتَخْرِجُونَ حِلْيَةً تَلْبَسُونَهَ ۖ وَتَرَى ٱلْفُلْكَ فِيهِ مَوَاخِرَ لِتَبْتَغُوا۟ مِن فَضْلِهِۦ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

The two bodies of water are not alike: one is fresh, palatable, and pleasant to drink and the other is salty and bitter. Yet from them both you eat tender seafood and extract ornaments to wear. And you see the ships ploughing their way through both, so you may seek His bounty and give thanks ˹to Him˺.

[Surah Fatir 35:12]

We use water daily. From something as simple as washing our hands (with soap!) in the fight against germs and viruses, showering, quenching our thirst, cooking to performing ablutions.

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On a larger scale, for instance, it is an essential element for irrigation of lands to cultivate crops for farming and rearing of livestock for food production, which feed the world’s population. Hydropower is also harnessed for electricity, a form of sustainable renewable energy.

Water is indisputably indispensable.

Today, climate change through global warming has been recorded to accelerate the melting of ice caps in the Antarctica quicker than at any point in the past 5,500 years. This has been calculated to potentially increase the sea level up to 11 feet or more than 3 metres! Simply, too much water leads to flooding, especially in coastal areas. This in turn could potentially escalate into a humanitarian crisis by causing climate refugees in the millions to flee their homes.

Climate refugees is no longer figments of imagination crafted in the minds of science fiction writers. It has been projected that by 2050, as many as 1.2 billion people could be displaced under such circumstances!

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Yet, if it is still not clear at this stage, we are not the only ones to rely heavily on water. Plants and animals are affected, too. A chain reaction of largely irreversible effects rippling across generations, whose future already hangs on a fragile thread. This is just a quick peek at the disastrous consequences of our mismanagement of water that has a domino effect on everything else. Essentially, its repercussions would continue to compound and have had caused damages, at times complex and irreparable.

World Water Week: Year-Round Effort

World Water Week, held annually since 1991, shines a spotlight on approaches to tackling water-related challenges. In 2022, it is scheduled from 23rd August until 1st September. It brings together stakeholders from various groups, encompassing business, academia, the media, non-governmental organisations and more in collaborating to find and implement changes.

Does that mean we as individuals from pockets of communities across the globe are absolved from any responsibility? Definitely not! It falls on our shoulders to take accountability and act towards the betterment of the environment for collective benefit.

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Start with the following and adjust according to your situation where necessary: First, pledge to learn more about World Water Week in whatever credible way you could (albeit, you are already on the right track by reading and sharing this article). Next, remind yourself to keep an open mind by relying on science to help fill knowledge gaps about water and the climate crisis, for instance. Start to practise water saving habits and share them with your friends and family, all year-round.

Remember to value every drop. Our choice here is clear; either get on with the programme swimmingly, or be swept away by the tide – metaphorically and, at times, literally!