Water is often assumed to be an unlimited resource, but there is a limited supply of fresh water in the world and our disregard of scarcity is taking its toll on our world’s delicate ecosystems. It takes enormous amounts energy to create drinkable water and the nation’s freshwater reservoirs are quickly being depleted due to our excessive use of water. Here in American, we consume more water daily than any other country. A study conducted in 2002 shows that the average American uses 575 liters of water per day, and the average Georgian uses 10% more water than the average citizen of any other state.
We, as Americans, have always thought of water as an unlimited resource due to the fact that 70 percent of the earth is covered with water. This can be very deceiving; only 2.5 percent of the earth’s water is freshwater and 99 percent of that one percent is groundwater, most of it unreachable. Less than 0.01 percent of the world’s water is found in rivers and lakes. Another issue is that due to our country’s development there is little room to store water and replenish aquifers. Billions of gallons of water are diverted downstream into rivers to avoid flooding.
This is an issue of great importance that will become even more so in years to come as our populations increase, bringing greater demand for water, while regions suffering from drought become larger and more abundant. THE DROUGHT IN GEORGIA
S.W.I.G. is focusing on informing the public about water conservation in order to lessen the impact of Georgia’s drought. Due to its large and rapidly growing population, Georgia has had several water shortages in the past, but the issue was not brought to the attention of the public recently until the recent drought. After an initial hype over the drought it once again faded from public consciousness. But the issue remains and something must be done to accommodate the lack of rain and lower water levels in our lakes. If no action is taken, Georgians could face extreme restrictions on water consumption, greatly impacting our daily lives.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a level 4 drought has been declared for the northern third of the state, including the metropolitan Atlanta area, which is where we live. This means that there is currently an “extreme drought” and most outdoor water use is prohibited. Atlanta’s major water source, Lake Lanier, reached a record low November 2007 and on October 31, 2008 Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed an Executive Order that established the “Governors Water Conservation Challenge.” The order challenges local businesses, governments, and schools to reduce water usage by 5 percent over the next 2 years and 2 percent every year after that. In addition, metro Atlanta has taken action by restricting outdoor water use. We believe that though these laws are a step in the right direction more needs to be done in order to prevent a crisis. Our team is doing our part to reduce water usage as well as to inform the community about how individuals and groups can conserve water in their own homes and businesses.