March 22nd is World Water Day. Founded in 1993 by the United Nations, this global observance highlights the need for the care and management of the world’s water resources. This year’s theme, “Urban Water Usage” highlights the ongoing challenges we face as urban populations continue to grow.
With an estimated one out of two people on the planet now living in cities, the pressure to meet our freshwater needs is at a breaking point. From supply, to sanitation, to usage, our infrastructure and resource management practices have pushed many areas past peak water capability. Not only does this affect public health and welfare, the effects from urban runoff, sewage spills and ocean intakes cause significant damage to our marine environments.
Every eight months, 10.9 million gallons of oil runs off streets and driveways and into our nations waters – equivalent to the amount lost in the Exxon Valdez spill.
Each year, approximately 18,000 beaches are closed or posted as unhealthy due to bacterial contamination and/or sewage spills.
Every day, 37 ocean outfalls in California discharge over 1.5 billion gallons of sewage containing about 120 million tons of mass solids.
The good news is that each and every one of us can reduce our water footprint by making small changes in our day-to-day routines. These actions will not only help keep our oceans, waves and beaches clean, they could potentially help you save hundreds of dollars each year!
Find out more at wwd.surfrider.org/.