Water Literacy

Globe in dropWater Literacy means knowing where your water comes from and how you use it

It’s a simple concept but  information about how all your water is supplied can be very complex.  First, bringing water to you is not just delivering flow to the tap and toilet.  Every item in your house required water to be created, so you are surrounded by their embedded water cost.  Food, clothes, furniture, electronics – everything costs water to produce.

For example, producing electricity is very water intensive.  Dams require strong flowing rivers, coal and nuclear plants need billions of gallons to operate.  Even solar panels require water to be manufactured.  Depending on where your electricity comes from, it takes 6 to 12 gallons of water to produce one hour of  power for a single 60 watt lightbulb.

Water Literacy sets standards for water information that every young adult should know by age 18 as basic knowledge for healthy and sustainable living in the 21st century.

Being Water Literate means having a basic understanding of:

  • Water footprints and how to calculate them.
  • Virtual water – the embedded water footprint of imported products and food.  How water travels around the world to meet demand
  • Groundwater and healthy watersheds.  Integrated water cycles with human demand as part of the system.  Groundwater recharge and consequences of overdrafting. Up-to-date research on contaminants and how they travel through the water supply.
  • Infrastructure: how we move and control surface water, process waste water.
  • The energy-water connection.
  • Water, health and sanitation.

In addition, lessons and discussion questions on the following global water topics will be available for teachers who wish to explore water education in greater depth:

  • Competing demands: agriculture,  industry, growing populations in urban centers, wildlife.
  • Ownership of water:  global trends and issues.
  • Water scarcity:  predictions and impacts on food supplies.
  • Water conservation choices.  Emerging practices and technology.

More information about AWE educational resources

This airport news stand has over 100 magazines.  Not one had a single article about water.  In the US it's easy to ignore water and take it for granted because it's importance is not reinforced to the general public.  Water professionals work hard to keep the pipes flowing reliably so we don't need to think twice about having enough water.  It's news when supply is disrupted or there are sustained quality problems

This airport news stand has over 100 magazines. Not one had a single article about water. In the US it's easy to ignore water and take it for granted because it's importance is not reinforced to the general public. Water professionals work hard to keep the pipes flowing reliably so we don't need to think twice about having enough water. It's news when supply is disrupted or when there are quality problems.

Everything you touch has a water history

No food or products could exist in your life without water to make them.  Knowing their water footprints will become as common as knowing the calories and fat grams in the foods we eat.  There is a cultural shift happening now as knowledge about water supplies becomes part of our national dialogue.

Fresh water is our most precious national heritage. Understanding how you use water helps you make wise choices for a sustainable lifestyle.  Become part of the growing water conversation!

Supplies of clean water define a society’s priorities

“Everyone understands that water is essential to life. But many are only just now beginning to grasp how essential it is to everything in life – food, energy, transportation, nature, leisure, identity, culture, social norms, and virtually all the products used on a daily basis.” — World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Your supply of fresh water is going to decide your future.  It will influence the jobs you will have, the food you eat, the products you  buy, whether you might catch a disease and even whether there’s electricity for this computer.

Take control of what you need to know for your future and learn about water!

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