Dewey Droppe, a droplet of pure Wisconsin spring water, was excited about the upcoming family reunion at Lake Mead on the Nevada-Arizona border. He evaporated quickly and was whisked away by the winds. Weeks later, a rare summer cloud burst deposited Dewey over a Colorado River tributary. Soon he was swept downstream into Lake Mead where he renewed acquaintances with trillions of his cousins pooled up above the Hoover Dam.
To his dismay, he soon came to realize all is not well in the Lake Mead community. His cousins are being asked to do more and more, while at the same time there are fewer and fewer of them. The volume of water in the lake peaked twenty-one years ago and has now dropped to 36% of capacity; it’s expected to drop another 20 feet by the end of this year and then continue dropping.
Auntie Aqua sensed that Dewey and the others were alarmed about the situation, so she arranged for a meeting under the stars that evening. “Fellow Aquanauts, as you are well aware, we’ve been taken for granted far too long. Americans expect a simple twist of the tap will always provide clean, healthy drinking water. Alas, there is no such guarantee.”
Auntie continued by reminding the droplets of the analogy comparing all the Earth’s water to a 5-gallon bucketful. In that comparison, salt water fills all but the final 2 cups which represent all Earth’s fresh water. However, almost all of that fresh water is either at the poles or frozen in glaciers, underground, or otherwise inaccessible for use. In fact, just ONE DROP of that 5-gallon bucketful is clean water that’s accessible for human use.
“ We’re a precious commodity,” Auntie continued as she counted out the ways humans could help.
-Avoid buying bottled water. Fill your reusable bottle from the tap.
-Veg-out. Two meatless days a week would cut your water footprint by 16%.
-Reduce energy use. Energy generation and transmission use bucketsful of water. And the oceans are becoming acidified as they absorb CO2 from burning carbon-based (fossil) fuels.
- Play in the water! By enjoying our water resources we become more aware of how precious they are to us and the environment.
“After all,” reminded Auntie, “all life depends on abundant, clean water here on our only home where we’re all forever… Earthbound.”