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Today we celebrate World Water Day–a day set aside to reflect on the vital role that this simple resource plays in the lives and livelihoods of people around the world.
Many of us are familiar with the statistics: water-borne diseases cause the deaths of more than 1.5 million children each year, and nearly 1 billion people worldwide do not currently have access to safe drinking water. In rural Africa, over a quarter of the population must spend 30 minutes or more each time they collect water–taking time away from other activities such as school and work.
But while the story of water poverty in rural Africa is an important one; it is not the only story that should be told on this World Water Day. We often think of water as being an issue only for those in the most poor and remote areas of the world, but all of our lives are affected by water quantity and quality, even when we don’t realize it. In the U.S., much of the way that we live our lives depends on consistent access to large amounts of water. The cup of coffee that so many of us drink each day requires 37 gallons of water to produce, which actually seems small in comparison to the 634 gallons needed to make a single hamburger or the 2,900 gallons of water that are needed to make a pair of jeans. National Geographic has created a great tool that we can all use to better understand the amount of water we really consume in our daily lives. By making small adjustments to our own lives we save hundreds of gallons of water each day.
Recognizing and appreciating how closely tied our own lives are to water and water usage raises our awareness of the many ways in which we can save water, but it should also inspire us to give water. Conservation and philanthropy are two sides of the same coin–taking individual responsibility for making our world just a little bit better. One great opportunity to give water this week is by becoming a fan of ITT Watermark on Facebook. For the next week, with every new fan they get, ITT Corporation will donate $1 to Mercy Corps and Water For People-two great non-profits that work to provide safe water solutions to people around the world.
On this World Water Day, don’t think you have to choose between valuing conservation and donating to water causes abroad. Instead think about how you can save water in order to give water.