Understanding the need for individuals, businesses, municipalities, and nations to step up efforts
Access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is essential to the health and well-being of every human on the planet. Yet billions of people around the world do not have access to it, resulting in 829,000 lives lost every year.
If we hope to achieve the U.N. ‘s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, that is, providing clean water and sanitation to all by 2030, we need to ramp up current efforts fourfold, according to the U.N. If we don’t, these numbers are likely to rise even higher due to population growth, rapid urbanization, and increasing water demands.
Some of the key factors that limit water availability and water quality globally include contamination of freshwater systems, poor management of freshwater supplies, and overextraction of groundwater. This is often exacerbated by climate change, degraded aquatic ecosystems, and limited investment in water and wastewater treatment infrastructure.
What Can Individuals Do?
We can all contribute to water conservation by using less water in our homes. This can be achieved by checking for leaks, fitting water-saving faucets and showerheads, reusing greywater to water the garden, installing tanks to harvest rainwater, and generally just using water more sparingly around the home. We can also be more mindful of what we flush down the drain. Everything that goes into the sewer could end up in a river or lake that serves as a source of drinking water for someone downstream.
Save Water in the Garden. Lawns and landscaping need water to stay healthy, but there are several ways you can save water in the garden. Start by planting drought-resistant native species that are tolerant of local weather conditions. When cutting your lawn, use the highest setting on your lawnmower to encourage deep root growth. Water sparingly, and use devices to control water flow.
To prevent water pollution, try to avoid the use of fertilizers and pesticides whenever possible, especially in summer, since warmer conditions, combined with nutrient inputs from fertilizers, are conducive to promoting algal blooms.
Save Water in the Home. We can save a lot of water just by making simple changes in our daily routines, for example, by not leaving the tap running while brushing teeth or shaving, and by keeping showers to a limit of five minutes.
Other ways include replacing standard faucets and showerheads with water-saving alternatives, and adjusting the volume setting on your washing machine according to the size of the load.
Another strategy is checking for leaks, because even slow ones can account for a lot of water lost over time. If your water meter dial is turning when all taps are turned off, it’s time to search for the cause. Toilets often are the culprits. Try adding some food coloring to the tank — if the color seeps into the bowl without you flushing, you will know you have a leak, probably due to an old flapper.
What Can Businesses Do?
Businesses across every sector, particularly those with a high water demand, can play a key role in protecting water by implementing measures to reduce water consumption and pollutant levels in the wastewater they generate.
Businesses can find ways to generate their own water supplies, including through desalination, water reuse, or a combination of the two. In one example, the Sandals Emerald Bay resort on Great Exuma in the Bahamas installed desalination and water reuse plants, and now has enough water to meet its needs and share 30% of its desalinated water with a local utility for distribution to residents on the water-scarce island.
Many other businesses are now seeing the benefits of installing on-site wastewater treatment systems that recycle water for reuse. This not only reduces the demand and cost of water, but since it treats wastewater to a quality that is safe to reuse, it also reduces the impact on the environment and helps ensure environmental compliance.
What Can Municipalities Do?
Municipalities are typically tasked with providing residents with access to safe drinking water and wastewater treatment services. But they face many challenges, including budget constraints, population growth, and lack of funds.
Or, as was the case in Alice, Texas, current water sources may not be adequate or reliable. With help from Seven Seas, the city will be able to desalinate water from a brackish aquifer to provide a steady source of raw fresh water. Seven Seas’ Water-as-a-Service® financial models offer municipalities a way to install new water and wastewater treatment facilities or upgrade existing ones without any capital investment.
What Can Nations Do?
National governments that are responsible for managing a country’s water resources must ensure that legislation protects the integrity of freshwater ecosystems, as well as water quality and human health. Budgets must allow for expanding and upgrading water and wastewater treatment facilities.
In many countries, more money is spent on facilities that serve urban areas while rural communities tend to be neglected. Investing in decentralized water and wastewater treatment solutions can help bring safe water and sanitation to rural communities at a fraction of the cost of conventional treatment systems.
An investment in water and wastewater treatment infrastructure is an investment in public health. With Seven Seas’ decentralized solutions and WaaS® financial model, businesses, municipalities and nations alike can improve access to clean water and sanitation without worrying about the upfront costs. Contact Seven Seas to learn more about our water and wastewater treatment solutions and financial options.
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