Transmitting Water Value, Easier Said than Done?

Ana Paulina López (ESR2)



Every time we visit different places during a holiday excursion, a study exchange, or a professional trip, we can compare the living conditions. In my case, sometimes these contrasts made me value what I had at home and other times to wish for better conditions. Has this happened to you? Have you reflected on how privileged or restricted you are regarding water supply and accessibility? As my fellow Silvana wrote, what is your value of water?

Back in time, I see an old version of me in a town where sometimes the water reserve was finished for some weeks. The city hall had to offer potable water with tank trucks so the inhabitants could carry it and store it in buckets. Then you develop skills such as taking a full shower with less than one bucket of water! And we know that this type of situation happens elsewhere nowadays. Whether the reason is an unequal distribution of water, insufficient maintenance of the water pipes, or a drought season, we all need water daily, and these sorts of scenarios have an influence on the value of water to people.

When people are conscious of their accessibility to clean water, they often take care of its consumption and avoid contamination. In other words, the water turns more valuable to them. Fortunately, there are several ways for any person to take care of water with some minor changes in the daily routine. You can check here some tips given by my fellow Nikoletta. Whether you are unsure of the relevance and impact of applying these small actions, you can look at Nebosja’s article and be surprised by the results that an individual can achieve. Moreover, as NOWELTIES ESRs, we also contribute by broadening the knowledge of various water treatments regarding organic micropollutants (OMPs), which are environmental and health issues.

Regardless of the diverse range of ways to care about water, some persons remain passive or unsensitized. From previous experiences, I noticed that water is usually taken for granted, and even if people are aware of water scarcity and water pollution, those problems are perceived as external because they occur outside of the social circle or the proximities. Additionally, it can be challenging to change habits that lead out of the usual comfort. In some cases, the perception is that the focus and pressure to solve water issues should lay mainly in the industry since any of its actions would have a greater and faster impact than what citizens achieve.

As a sensitized citizen and a scientist in formation, I realized that it could be overwhelming to approach so many perspectives. While trying to transmit knowledge and the importance of taking care of water, I discovered that some actions could be seen as extreme in one place while in others not. For example, how much to turn on the water faucet to wash dishes. It is not perceived the same as using abundant water in a town where water treatment and reuse are efficient than where it is not implemented and each extra drop is crucial to avoid hydric stress and costly bills. Unfortunately, these actions can be a constant source of tension.

Overall, we are all cohabitating on this planet, and taking care of water resources involves teamwork that will benefit everyone. I am sure that you would like to live in a place with less as possible water supply and sanitation problems.

What about you? Do you succeed in transmitting the value of water without being an extremist? How do you react when you see another person’s water usage?

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