World Water Day 2017: Why Wastewater?

Water. Water. Everywhere. We all love water. We all need water. Water is a basic necessity for survival. As Canadians we view water as our most precious resource (The Globe and Mail, Source: RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study, 2017). We expect clean water to flow from our taps and count on having pristine rivers and lakes to play in. Yet, our water quality is decreasing and adequate supplies are becoming more difficult to maintain. Canadians squander water recklessly while being the highest water consumers on the planet, around 300 litres a day per person. Our abundant supply of freshwater is dwindling…


But it’s not all that bad. Not all bad when compared to the rest of the world. Here are some facts from the UN about water worldwide:
-Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. (Sato et al, 2013)
-1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year. (WHO/UNICEF 2014/WHO 2014)
-The opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.(exert from http://www.un.org/en/events/waterday/)

As a paddler I have a deep affinity to water; it soothes my soul. As a raft guide I relied on water directly for an income. I now work in wastewater treatment and I’m constantly amazed at how easily water is forgotten once it flows down the drain. I see all types of industrial, agricultural, municipal and manufacturing wastewater while making a living. We are all water wasters. There are solutions, but above all our attitudes need to change. Rapidly. Seriously… go and pick up some trash along your local creek/river/lake/beach today- get involved and help!

And watch this… 

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