Water isn’t Essential?

Think fast! Name three things you can’t live without. Got it?

Is a flat screen TV essential?

Now let’s see how you compare to the rest of America. In 2010, US News and World Report listed ten items Americans claimed to be essential in their lives. Items included high-speed internet access, TV, coffee, and smart phones. Though the article did refer to food, shelter, and clothing as “obvious staples,” water was nowhere mentioned. Not even once. Water isn’t essential in our lives?

Tom Barlow, with Daily Finance, saw this list and he added his own selections in his blog. He went so far as to at least include plumbing as a candidate for his Top 10. Tom is a wise man.

What about you? Did water spring to your mind?


Don’t feel bad if it didn’t make your big three. Sure, we all know we need water to survive, thus making it essential. But I think most people consider this as such an obvious answer, it doesn’t need mentioning. And water is always there for us, right? We can stop at any Golden Pantry and find a cool drink or a toilet. We don’t write it down on our wish list next to the iPad. I think most people take our water delivery and wastewater removal systems for granted.

I could now move on to discuss how fortunate Americans are to have access to clean drinking water and good sanitation, how our list of essentials is actually a list of luxuries we enjoy, how 780 million people in the world lack access to clean water… But the point of this blog isn’t to make you feel guilty. It is only to make you appreciate water and good sanitation.

Here are three things you can try for the next month to become more aware of water in your life:


1) I know this is touchy-feely, but be mindful when you are using water. Tune out the flat screen TV, the high-speed internet, the ringing cell phone, and turn on your water. Listen to it as it runs from the faucet. Feel the water as it touches you. Enjoy washing the dishes, turning something dirty back to clean again. Appreciate and be grateful for the water you have available for use.

2) As you select items for purchase at the store, take a moment to think about water’s role in the manufacturing of products. What do I mean? Let’s take the beloved cup of coffee. Sure, we need at least 8 oz of water to brew our go juice. But water is also required to grow, package, and ship the beans. What looks like 8oz of coffee really required an estimated 37 gallons of water for one cup. This virtual water is also in your blue jeans, your bread, and your brew. Be aware of your water footprint.

3) Go on strike with Matt Damon. He is not going to the bathroom until everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. Yes, this may be a little extreme for most of us to do, but it certainly does makes you aware of your toilet. If you can’t commit as fully as Mr. Damon, how about not using the toilet seat for one month? Yes, I mean squat rather than sit. I guarantee, like Time Barlow, you will add plumbing and sanitation to your list of essentials.

A wonderful quote from Danielle Raine observes, “the cruel irony of housework:people only notice when you don’t do it.”Clean water delivered at the turn of a faucet or flush of a toilet is similar. You only notice water if it isn’t there. Let’s not wait until it isn’t there to notice it. Become aware, appreciate, and take action to care for water now. It is essential.

Laurie Loftin

Conserve: WATER U waiting 4?

Originally posted on waterconservationstation.blogspot.com, 4/2/13

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One thought on “Water isn’t Essential?

  1. Pingback: Eco Preservation : Virtual Water : Must know Concept | Propel Steps

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