More and more, we see references to a growing water crisis in the news. Amidst policy proposals and changing personal habits, some companies are doing their part to address the issue.
Many of us have heard about the global water crisis, but do not truly understand its reach and breadth. We may assume this subject is talking about the need for water in places that do not have much rainfall or that are in desert conditions. We may think of people walking miles just to get fresh potable water from a pump. In our minds, we see these situations as third world countries who could use our help, and that is important to lend a hand where needed.
However, what most of us do not realize is that the global water crisis is already present in every continent including North America, Asia, and Europe. We may not understand how far this crisis reaches and what the impact could soon be on our daily lives. The term “climate change” brings up unpleasant images of angry politicians battling it out for their party, but in the real world, what does the global water crisis look like and what is Waiakea Water, a bottled water brand, doing to help?
Reality tells a sobering tale of too little water in places like Cape Town, South Africa in 2017 and Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2015. People found their large metropolises in a water crisis called “zero day.” This is a predicted date when the city’s reservoirs run dry and can no longer provide potable running water to its citizens. Millions of people were affected and allowed no more than a specific number of gallons of water a day for all their water needs. They found themselves limited to showering no more than twice a week. Barcelona, Spain reached day zero in 2008. Many would be shocked to learn that they imported water from France aboard sea freight tankers. Australia is at a severe constant water scarcity level. California has felt the pinch for years.
Interestingly, the problem of too little water isn’t always generated at the consumer level. The daily average use of water for flushing toilets, showering, and cooking only account for less than 5 percent of global water usage. Big businesses, agriculture, population growth in vulnerable areas, and climate change are the major reasons for the global water crisis. Companies who are not responsible with their processing have contributed to the crisis. For example, it is said that it takes nearly 175 gallons of water to create a bottle of soda. This starts at the planting of a seed. That seed needs water to grow and equipment to later harvest the plants for sweeteners and for machines for the creation of caffeine. The packaging, shipping, and final preparation of one bottle of soda has now cost the planet well over a hundred gallons of water simply getting that one beverage to the consumer.
Waiakea’s Global Initiatives
As a bottled water company, Waiakea has set its sights on water conservation and preservation.
They have a great respect for their bond to nature and its clean water aquifer at the base of the Mauna Loa volcano. Their belief system is to respect and care for the land. These ethics have led Waiakea to lower their emissions during shipping and bottle their water in 100 percent RPET (recycled polyethylene terephtalate) containers. Waiakea is one of the first premium bottled water companies in the world to obtain certification as CarbonNeutral.
These 100 percent RPET bottles have amazing benefits to the environment when compared to virgin plastics. They use 85 percent less energy and use 90 percent less water to produce, and also reduce carbon emissions over 90 percent. Waiakea is taking the global water crisis seriously and changing the way they manufacture their beverages and drinks. They are racing towards bio-polymers that will be degradable when the plastics reach a limit and are no longer suitable for consumer needs. This will change the industry as a whole, not simply their company. Companies that use these plastics can adopt bio-polymers and implement this environment friendly way of manufacturing and processing plastics, all of which will aid in climate change and control.
Waiakea has also joined with Pump Aid to bring water to regions that are suffering from a lack of drinkable and sanitary water sources. Creating safe and sustainable water supplies will aid people and provide them with liters of clean water for cooking, drinking, and food preparation. They also benefit from having clean bathing water, which reduces disease and even death. Waiakea members actively participate in securing common ground for a well and digging it. The pump mechanism must be built and volunteers must instruct people so the pump is maintained and repairs are made for years to come. Because of Waiakea’s water initiatives, more than 1.35 million people now have access to safe drinking water and clean sanitation. Over 4,200 pumps are in use in areas in Malawi, Africa and serve over 487,000 people.
Make a Difference Now
If more businesses would take a hard look at their global impact, they could make the necessary changes to lower their emissions and use of water during manufacturing, processing, and shipping. So, what can a person do at the individual level? There are many easy ways to participate in water conservation. We simply do not do them because we feel we are not directly impacted by the global water crisis––not yet.
For instance, you can save an average of six liters of water by turning off the water while brushing your teeth. Take a shorter shower. It is possible to wash your body from head to toe in a couple of minutes. Shampoo and conditioning your hair takes extra time, but be frugal with the water rushing down the drain. Water your plants or yard in the morning before the sun is high and evaporation wicks away the water intended for nourishment. Do not let your faucet run while rinsing dishes, while shaving, or washing your face.
Other ways you can reduce your water usage at home are installing a cistern to regulate how much water is used for flushing. Also, fix leaky faucets or shower heads. Shut-off valves are inexpensive and easy to install if you can’t afford a plumber for your shower. Do not wait until it is too late. Day zero might come for your city sooner than you think. Join with water conservation programs and practice what you preach. Support companies who are responsible and share the word about initiatives such as Waiakea’s efforts with Pump Aid. Together, we can tackle these hard issues and create a future where no one has to live without potable water.