World Water Day 2012: You can make a difference says CDC

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips to people for conserving water and making a difference in their own communities and around the world.

Today, March 22, is World Water Day, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are getting the world out to everyone: “Water and Food Security: The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry."

Water is closely linked to food production the CDC explains. For example, while the average person drinks about 2.5 liters of water each day, producing just 2.2 pounds of beef requires 15,000 liters of water. In fact, it takes 1,000 times more water to feed a person than it takes to satisfy their thirst, with food production accounting for 70 percent of all water use. This is more water than what is required for domestic and industrial use combined.

Demands for freshwater needed for food production continue to increase as the world population continues to increase at a rapid pace, putting a strain on water supply. Everyone can help preserve this invaluable resource, the CDC says, and offers these suggestions:

  • Learn how much water is used to make the foods we eat every day and consume less water-intensive products.
  • Be mindful of food waste – 30 percent of all food produced worldwide is never consumed.
  • Encourage food producers to use less water in their food.

Since 1990, the number of persons able to access improved drinking water and sanitation resources has increased by 2 billion and 1.8 billion respectively. Despite these gains, hundreds of millions still lack access to these essential resources. The CDC's global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program provides expertise and interventions aimed at saving lives and reducing illness by improving global access to healthy and safe water, adequate sanitation, and improved hygiene.

The WASH program works on long-term prevention and control measures for improving health, reducing poverty, and improving socioeconomic development as well as responding to global emergencies and outbreaks of life-threatening illnesses. These improvements reduce the lethal impact of WASH-related diseases ranging from cholera to typhoid fever to hepatitis.

For more information on World Water Day and ideas on how to get involved, visit the United Nations' World Water Day website.

For more information on the CDC's Global WASH Program, visit the Global WASH website.

Image: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention