By Thais Lopez Vogel
It’s summer and we all want to be near water. Many of us are enjoying vacations by rivers, lakes and oceans, so it is timely to have a conversation about this liquid that is so crucial for our survival.
August is National Water Quality Month and that means it’s a good time to reflect on the worth of this resource. We know the human body can barely survive a few days without this element, which constitutes between 55% and 70% of our body.
In Florida, water is an issue that demands urgency. We enjoy it plentifully, but it is also highly threatened. In an article from our partners at The Everglades Foundation, Dr. Anteneh Abiy warns that “Unfortunately, 50% of the Everglades has been drained, while alterations to hydrology, pollution, invasive species, and climate change threaten what remains.”
This 1.5-million-acre wetland reserve in the southwestern corner of the state is currently undergoing efforts to protect it and, in doing so, secure the water we drink.
In his article, Dr. Abiy reminds us that millions of South Florida residents and tourists depend on fresh water pumped from the Biscayne Aquifer, a magnificent groundwater reservoir that is fed by the Everglades and extends beneath South and Central Florida. Each day, more than 300 million gallons are extracted from this reservoir.
However, in a recent survey, 95% of residents in Miami-Dade and Broward counties did not know the source of their drinking water. With the answer right under their feet.
These are questions we must ask ourselves, not only to guard our today but to ensure the sustainable lives of future generations.
In 2015, all member states of the United Nations adopted 17 goals as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The sixth goal addresses water sustainability.
It seeks to achieve universal and equitable access to safe drinking water, improve its quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing the release of chemicals and hazardous materials; in addition to increasing the efficient use of water resources to address scarcity.
It also aims to protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including forests, mountains, wetlands, rivers, lakes and aquifers, such as the one we are addressing today.
This calls us to be responsible and cooperate with the quality of water in our state.
At home, we can turn off the faucet while soaping up or brushing our teeth, reduce our shower time, use the washing machine and dishwasher only with a full load, utilize water control systems in the toilet and be attentive to possible leaks in pipes and faucets.
Let us also demand that our authorities take effective action on the issue; and make sure the representatives we are voting for have it as a priority on their agenda.
We will all continue to benefit from water if we take care of it.