World Water Day Water is held on the 22nd of March each year to create awareness of the importance of water. With water restrictions ranging from Level 1 in Johannesburg to Level 6 in Cape Town, South Africa is no stranger to water challenges as this natural resource increasingly becomes a scarce commodity.
According to the website for World Water Day (www.worldwaterday.org), 2.1 billion people (worldwide) live without safe drinking water at home which in turn affects their health, education and livelihoods. The theme for 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ and will explore nature-based solutions to the water challenges being faced in the 21st century.
In an article posted by Africa Check in December 2017: ‘#5facts: Water in South Africa’, latest figures from the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Aquastat database ranks South Africa in 39th position as the driest country in the world. This is against comparable figures for 182 countries worldwide.
Here are five ways to keep healthy and save water at the same time:
1. Drink 2L of safe drinking water daily.
The Natural Hydration Council says the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends an intake of 2.5 litres of water for men and 2.0 litres of water for women per day, via food and drink consumption
2. Keep your hands clean to prevent the spread of germs. Use hand sanitiser or anti-bacterial wet wipes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people may decide handwashing is not a priority where water is not readily available, thereby adding to the likelihood of diarrhoea and other diseases.
3. Pour some safe drinking water into a small bowl daily to wash your fruit and vegetables before consumption.
A media statement from the City of Cape Town notes that the prevention of water- and food-borne diseases requires strict levels of hygiene to avoid cross-contamination. “Now more than before, we need to be sticklers about handwashing, washing fruit and vegetables and cleaning food preparation surfaces.”
4. Keep your toilets free from germs.
WHO reports that contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. It says absent, inadequate, or inappropriately managed water and sanitation services expose individuals to preventable health risks.
5. Recycle your shower, bath and washing machine water. This recycled ‘grey’ water can be used again for flushing toilets or for watering your garden.
A guide on the safe use of greywater produced by the City of Cape Town highlights what kind of greywater can be re-used where, and how to use it safely. The guide highlights that typically, 50 – 80% of indoor water in the home can be re-used as greywater.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. So, challenge yourself to keep your water consumption down. In the words of WWF (World Wildlife Fund): “Protecting fresh water cannot happen alone. Together we can create a water-secure future.”
For information on the prevention and treatment of water- and food-borne diseases, speak to your local pharmacist or healthcare professional.