“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” — W. H. Auden
All plants and animals need water to survive. Water is used for a variety of life-sustaining functions: from removing waste from the body to transporting nutrients. Humans rely on water for many things beyond biological functions – transportation of goods, manufacturing, agriculture, recreation, and much more.
Be the change you want to see in the world
World Water Day is celebrated annually on March 22, to raise awareness on freshwater issues, and to encourage action to protect the world’s water resources. This year, the focus of Water Day is on accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis, given that, globally, we are far behind on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals specifically related to water — Clean Water and Sanitation.
The global campaign called “Be the change” encourages people to take action in their own lives to change the way they use, consume, and manage water.
Managing water resources in Guyana
Guyana is one of four countries which host the Guiana Shield, one of the most pristine rainforest landscapes in the world. The Guiana Shield stores around 18% of the world’s tropical forest carbon and 20% of the world’s fresh water. Further, Guyana’s ocean area – more than half of Guyana’s terrestrial area – offers a new frontier for sustainable development through the expansion of the Ocean/Blue Economy (LCDS 2030).
The importance of water management has been recognised by the Government of Guyana in the updated version of the Low Carbon Development Strategy as a new incentive for a low carbon economy. The LCDS aims to upgrade Guyana’s water and other sectors, including transportation and energy, on a low-carbon, non-polluting trajectory.
In the Land of Many Waters, there are a number of state agencies with responsibility for water resources management. The EPA has an overarching role in the management of freshwater resources under the Environmental Protection Act Cap 20:05 and Water Quality Regulations 2000. These include:
* Preventing or controlling pollution
* Establishing, monitoring and enforcing environmental regulations
* Promoting and encouraging a better understanding and appreciation of the natural environment, and
* Ensuring that development activities that may have a negative impact on the environment are assessed.
What can you do to be the change?
* Do not let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth.
* Turn off the water flow while soaping or shampooing.
* Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it – such as watering a plant or garden.
Kitchen and Laundry:
* Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
* Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin. Use a vegetable brush.
* Do not use water to defrost frozen foods, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
* Use a dishpan for washing and rinsing dishes.
* Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the dishwasher.
* Add food wastes to your compost pile instead of throwing them out
* Use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
* Sweep driveways, sidewalks and steps rather than hosing off.
* When using a hose, control the flow with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
* Avoid purchasing recreational water toys that require a constant stream of water.
* Repair all leaks. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day. To detect leaks in the toilet, add food colouring to the tank water. If the coloured water appears in the bowl, the toilet is leaking.
* Install ultra-low flow toilets, or place a plastic container filled with water or gravel in the tank of your conventional toilet. Be sure it does not interfere with operation of the toilet’s flush mechanism.
* Install low-flow aerators and showerheads.
* Consider purchasing a high-efficiency washing machine, which can save over 50% in water and energy use.