Water is one of the most essential elements to health and is so important that your body actually has a specific drought management system in place to prevent dehydration and ensure your survival. Water might be everywhere, but one must never take it for granted. Water makes up more than two thirds of human body weight, and without water, we would die in a few days. The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. (Are you having trouble reading this? Drink up!). Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue
Droughts & Water Shortages
Given our recent experience with droughts in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa – we find it imperative that each and every person learns more about what this could actually mean for our not-so-distant future. As primary consumers of this vital resource – we should become more knowledgeable about our access, the uses and benefits of it, and how we can be more vigilant (and efficient) in our daily consumption. We hope that you find this article helpful or educational, and that you will share this with someone to help spread awareness.
Water in the Environment
Only 0.5% of the world’s water resources are available to provide for the freshwater needs of our planet’s ecosystem and population. Water is not distributed evenly around the globe. Less than 10 countries possess 60% of the world’s available freshwater supply. 1.8 billion people(1) still lack access to fresh water supply and 2.5 billion people need improved sanitation. Since 1940 the world’s water use has quadrupled whilst the world’s population has only doubled.
- Water is essential to health and social and economic development Over 5,000 children die each day due to dirty water or poor hygiene Half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering water borne diseases Water-related diseases kill one child every 15 seconds
- Water is essential to feed the world 70% of the world’s water resources are needed for food production! Producing food for the increasing world population will require 50% more freshwater Increasing competition for water and inefficient irrigation practices could constrain future food production In many developing nations, irrigation accounts for over 90% of the water withdrawn. Therefore, more water-efficient irrigation technologies need to be applied. The cup of coffee you may drink while reading this page required 140 litres of water. 15.500 litres of water is needed to produce one kg of beef
- Water is essential for agriculture and industry Water is used to make every product on Earth. Therefore, all businesses and all business sectors depend on it in some way. After agriculture, industry is the second largest user of water. However, the amount of water used varies widely from one type of industry to another Water, energy and food are intrinsically linked: water is needed to produce energy, energy is needed to deliver the water needed for food production.
Water in the Human Body
Water is important to the mechanics of the human body. The body cannot work without it, just as a car cannot run without gas and oil. In fact, all the cell and organ functions that make up our entire anatomy and physiology depend on water for their functioning.
- Water serves as a lubricant Water serves as a lubricant in digestion and almost all other body processes. The water in our saliva helps facilitate chewing and swallowing, ensuring that food will slide easily down the esophagus. Water also lubricates our joints and cartilages and allows them to (pardon the pun) move more fluidly. When dehydrated, the body rations water away from the joints. Less lubrication equals greater friction and that can cause joint, knee and back pain potentially leading to injuries and arthritis. Even our eyeballs need plenty of lubrication to work well and remain healthy.
- Water regulates body temperature Our bodies can control over-heating through perspiration from sweat glands in the skin and from evaporation which produces a cooling effect. Blood is also routed into areas close to the surface of the skin where it can be cooled and then carried back to the interior of the body. Conversing in a cold environment, the skin maintains proper body temperature by shunting the blood away from the exterior surface thereby conserving heat within the body. The movement of water within our cellular systems also transports vital blood plasma which is 92% made of water. Blood plasma play a critical role in buffering the body’s pH, circulating antibodies from the immune system, and regulating osmotic balance which all helps to maintain proper body temperature.
- Water removes harmful toxins from the body Water helps our bodies remove toxins in many different ways. Water flushes toxins and waste from the body through urination and perspiration. Water helps reduce constipation and aids in bowel movements which ensures that wastes are removed quickly and regularly before they can become poisonous in the body. This waste buildup can occur in the body if dehydration becomes a regular occurrence and this can cause headaches, toxicity and illness. Drinking enough water will also lessen the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products.
- Water transports valuable nutrients to the body Blood is about 92% water and it carries nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Nutrients from the food we eat are broken down in the digestive system where they become water-soluble, which means they are dissolved in water. Water allows these nutrients to pass through the capillaries within the intestinal walls to the blood and circulatory system where the valuable nutrients and oxygen can be distributed throughout the body to all the cells and organs. In addition to the daily maintenance of our bodies, water also plays a key role in the prevention of disease. Drinking eight glasses of water daily can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50% and it can potentially even reduce the risk of breast cancer. And those are just a few examples! As you follow other links on our website, you can read more in depth about how water can aid in the prevention and cure of many types of diseases, ailments and disorders that affect the many systems of our bodies.
- Drinking to Your Health Since water is such an important component to our physiology, it would make sense that the quality of the water should be just as important as the quantity. Therefore, your drinking water should always be clean and free of contaminants to ensure proper health and wellness. Remember it is also never too late to improve your health with the help of regular exercise, balanced nutrition and a positive outlook on life. The human body is very resilient and if you treat yourself well, you will be surprised by your body’s own natural ability to heal itself. Here’s drinking to your health and achieving your goals. We know you can do it!
Useful Tips to Save Water (and Money)
Here are just some points to consider to help reduce water consumption, and could potentially save you from an expensive utility bill:
- Reduce water consumption Turn-off the tap while brushing teeth, shaving or soaping hands. Take shorter showers and use less water if you bath. Avoid buying bottled water. Sweep outside areas instead of hosing with water. Use eco-friendly soaps and cleaning products. Fix leaks at home & report public water leaks to the Municipality. Always use a plugged-sink or bowl instead of a running tap. Insulate hot water pipes to reduce time waiting for water to heat up. Install aerators and flow-reducing valves on your taps. Install water saving devices on taps, toilets, showers & sprinklers. Install a water meter and monitor your use. Install an instant water heater at your taps for immediate hot water.
- Car Wash your car with a bucket and sponge only. Use a hosepipe with a self-closing nozzle to wash your car. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
- Bathroom Shower instead of bath. Use less water in the bath. Bathe young children together. Flush the toilet only when odours make it necessary. Put a brick in your cistern to reduce. Install a low-flow shower-head. Install aerators and flow-reducing valves on your taps. Install a dual flush mechanism on your toilet. Install a geyser blanket for insulation. Insulate the copper pipes around the geyser.
- Laundry Cut back on washing your towels and linen. Match the size of your laundry load with water volume. Buy an eco-friendly wash ball. Buy a water-efficient washing machine.
- Kitchen Only turn the dishwasher on when it’s full. Use a plugged sink to wash dishes instead of a running tap. Use less dish-washing liquid to reduce the need for rinsing. Use a plugged sink to rinse vegetables instead of a running tap. Use the water you used to rinse fruit and veggies to water plants. Keep a bottle of tap water in the fridge to avoid running the tap until the water is cold. Don’t use running water to defrost food. Install aerators and flow-reducing valves on your taps. Purchase water-efficient appliances and water-saving devices.
- Plants & Garden Learn about water-wise gardening. Water plants at the coolest part of the day. Group plants together that have the same water requirements. Water plants with the water you used in the kitchen to rinse fruit and veggies. Choose local indigenous water-wise plants for your home and garden. Adjust sprinklers to water plants and not the pavement. Cover your pool so the water doesn’t evaporate. Check your pool for leaks. Put self-closing spray-nozzles on hosepipes. Use natural and organic garden products.