How can we be running out of fresh water?

Blog Post by Christina Worsley 27 August 2015

Nearly two million people die from a lack of safe drinking water every year. And in just fifteen years time, half the world's population could be living in areas of high water stress.

Our planet contains over a billion trillion litres of water, but very little of that is safe to drink. Over 97% of water on Earth is salt water. Of the fresh water that remains, over two thirds are locked away in ice caps and glaciers, the rest is trapped in soil or underground aquifers and this leaves a tiny fraction available for us to use.

Have you ever thought of how much water you use a day?

Would you be surprised to know that the average person in the UK uses about 3,400 litres of water every day?  Some examples per person include:

  • 14 litres for daily cooking and drinking
  • 48 litres for daily showers and baths

You may think this figure is nowhere near 3,400 litres until you consider the 'hidden' water usage i.e. the water needed to grow the food we eat and make the products we use.

Some examples include:

  • 840 litres to make a pot of coffee
  • 2,800 litres to make a burger

The total global requirement for water is over four trillion litres a year. Our natural sources of water are no longer enough.

So the burning question is; what can we do?

  • We can reduce the amount of water we use on a daily basis including; showering instead of bathing, only washing a full load of clothing and not just a couple of items, turning the tap off whilst brushing your teeth, only switching on a full dishwasher, using a bucket instead of a hosepipe to clean your car and using grey water to water plants.

Scientist have also come up with ways to help the crisis including filtering of water to make dirty water clean and desalination – turning sea water into fresh water. The latter sounds simple enough however, the intensive energy needed to achieve this is quite high making the process very costly.

During your daily activities try and use water more wisely, how would you feel if there was no water when you turned a tap on?


Banner image by Freepik


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