What is water sustainability?
When thinking about sustainability, we typically think: reduce, reuse, recycle. That’s what we’ve been told for the past 50 years.
However, sustainability is so much more than just recycling.
The U.N. defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Now, you’re probably thinking, “So why do we need water sustainability? Our planet is 71% water!”
Well, only 3% of our planet has freshwater. Of that 3%, only 1% is accessible due to the rest being trapped in icecaps and glaciers.
With that being said, water sustainability is incredibly important.
The stakes of water sustainability
As of May 10, 2022, 44.38% of the U.S. is experiencing a drought, according to data from the National Integrated Drought Information System. In the U.S. alone, 89 million people are affected by drought.
Droughts have immediate and long-lasting effects on people, the environment and the economy. Droughts cause food shortages due to lack of water to grow crops, reduce the amount of drinking water available, and deplete resources for wildlife.
A prime example of drought effects is Lake Mead in Nevada. Lake Mead was made in the 1930s and receives water from the Colorado River. However, due to a persistent drought that has been plaguing the area since 2000, Lake Mead is currently only 35% full.
To put that number into perspective, 2.2 million people from southern Nevada rely on Lake Mead to provide them with drinking water, as well as countless species that rely on Lake Mead for habitats and water resources.
What can we do about water sustainability? Water sustainability is a complex problem: there isn’t one correct solution.
There are small changes we can make in our everyday lives that can help conserve water and make sure there is water available for the generations to come.
This article just covers water issues in the U.S., but water sustainability is a global issue. Around the world, 771 million people do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation services.
This issue is not just an environmental or economic issue — it’s a social issue, as well, and having access to clean water is a human right.
Now, we'll outline some things you can do to help and some things Dober is doing in the water treatment space.
What YOU can do:
- Reduce the amount of water you use. For example, shorter showers, try to water your grass less and reuse water when cooking
- Volunteer with organizations that do waterway cleanups
- Only run your dishwasher when it’s full
- Use energy- and water-efficient appliances
- Fix your leaky faucets
- Use water that you’ve cooked with to water your plants
What businesses can do:
- Increase water-use efficiency
- If you are an industrial business, implement a treatment system that allows you to reuse your wastewater
- Use green chemistry
- Review your water-related issues and set goals to fix them
- Where you can, reduce water use
What Dober is doing:
- Creating green water treatment solutions
- Optimizing our manufacturing to reduce the amount of water that is used during production
- Researching and developing new water treatment solutions for ever-changing industries
- Assisting and encouraging our customers with their project needs
- Living and breathing our purpose: We foster ideas to create sustainable solutions to help businesses thrive
Elam, Stephanie. Lake Mead plummets to unprecedented low, exposing original 1971 water intake valve (2022). CNN. Accessed at: Lake Mead water valve is exposed for the first time amid historic drought - CNN
Making it Last (2017). National Park Service, Lake Mead page. Accessed at: Making It Last - Lake Mead National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
Drought (2017). National Park Service, Lake Mead page. Accessed at: Drought - Lake Mead National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
National Current Drought Conditions (2022). National Integrated Drought Information System. Accessed at: National Current Conditions | Drought.gov
What is “sustainable development”? (2015). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Accessed at: Water and sustainable development | International Decade for Action 'Water for Life' 2005-2015 (un.org)