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Source: Ashoka

How communities can become more water resilient

This article originally appeared on The Daily Guardian

By Garvita Gulhati, founder of Why Waste? and an Ashoka Young Changemaker, and Venky Raghavendra who is a social entrepreneur and SVP, Saf Water Network.

Currently, the human population touching 8 billion people is already thirsty for more water. A UN study estimates that by 2100 the population of the world will touch 11 billion, which means there will be millions and millions of parched throats if we don’t act fast. Unequal access to water will exponentially increase the disparities and catapult us into a world where inequalities thrive.

The Covid-19 pandemic has only hastened the inevitable reality — mindfully conserve, save and protect or else, face harsh consequences. Water, a resource that is 70% of our bodies and supposed to be free for all — a basic need and right — will now become a metric of evaluating the wealth of a country by the abundance of their water supply.

Global commercial interests are also investing heavily in and buying up water resources. All of us have a role in ensuring equitable distribution and access to water, and it is incumbent upon us to change our behaviour, mindsets and habits.

Keeping water bodies clean, reducing the over-consumption of water, striving for equal distribution of our resources and adding innovative solutions, like small water enterprises, are some of the solutions before us.

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Ashoka insight

We live and use resources as if we have 1.75 Earths! Curbing consumerism while maintaining economies can be hard but it is important. It can start with promoting goods and products that are locally made, with fewer resources, and fully sustainable. Waterborne diseases take a huge toll on families — especially women and children. 

The team at Why Waste? has come up with an app to help consumers calculate their daily water footprint and engage in fun challenges to help them realise where and how they’re overusing water, while teaching them ways to optimize water usage.

Educating people about “virtual water” (hidden water), that goes into the making of every single commodity around us, is critical. A cheeseburger requires 700 litres of water to make; a single pair of jeans requires 2,000 litres of water to make; and a sedan car requires 30,000 litres of water to make. Human consumerism is destroying the planet and depleting resources at an unimaginable rate.