Water is an essential precondition for life as well as a vital resource for the economy. It also plays an essential part in the climate regulation cycle. Water and climate are and always have been intricately linked. For these reasons, freshwater is a finite and precious resource necessary for sustaining life, ensuring sustainable social welfare and economic prosperity, and ecosystem health.
Water pressure on water resources has increased due to population growth together with fast urbanization as well economic and social development that has changed lifestyles. Pollution, mainly caused by sewage leaks and chemical discharges, has made clean water a rare and valuable commodity. Protection of water resources is therefore one of the priorities of environmental protection around the world.
The following are some key facts about water:
- Less than 2% of the world’s water supply is fresh water.
- Taking showers rather than baths would save enough water every week to make 1,000 cups of tea.
- A garden sprinkler uses as much water in half an hour as a family of four in a day.
The Eco-Schools Programme can be used to introduce to pupils the importance of water both locally and globally and and to raise awareness about how simple actions can substantially cut down water use.
Schools can reduce their water consumption by assessing how much they use every day and setting targets for reduction, identifying leaks and drips, adapting the flow rate on taps and reducing the amount of water used in toilets. Many Eco-Schools have addressed water and utility costs as part of their Action Plan. Careful water management together with an effective education programme can reduce water use by two-thirds.
Savannah Country Day Lower School in Georgia, USA, is an example of an eco-school which has focused on the theme of water. The school has a large cistern that collects 50% of the rainwater from the roof of the main building. This water is used by the pupils in various ways, including to fill the school pond and water the plants in the school garden. For more information about the school’s efforts, visit the Eco-Schools USA case-study site here.