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This year marks the 19th annual World Water Day, created by the United Nations as an international day to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
Each year, World Water Day focuses on a different aspect of freshwater. This year, that focus is Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge.
In honor of World Water Day, here are a bunch of graphics, images, and visualizations that should help you better understand the importance and seriousness of our global water challenge.
Yes, the Earth might appear to be mostly covered in water, but of global water volume, only 2.5 percent is freshwater, and of that tiny sliver, only 0.3 percent flows in the form of lakes, rivers, and streams.
Joseph Bergen and Nickie Huang, both students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, created this truly amazing interactive data visualization to compare the respective water footprints of different nations. Here you can see how the United States compares to Libya in terms of:
- water supply
- water usage
- total and urban population
- water available per person
- people without access to water
You are also able to compare the water footprints of different products (see next slide). You simply must take some time and play with this incredible tool.
Speaking of coffee and tea, here's an interesting way to think about those commodities as imports. The Water Footprint Network considers the "virtual water import" to a country—in this case, the Netherlands—based on their coffee imports. The greener the area, the larger the coffee crop import and, thus, the larger the "virtual water" import.
See it here.
"We use, eat, trade water," writes Angela Morelli, creator of the Global Water Footprint of Humanity project and the interactive data visualization that was also entered into the Visualization.org contest. Click through, and you can hover around and learn the:
- water footprint per capita
- national water resources for domestic needs
- national water resources for agricultural needs
- national water resources for industrial needs
- foreign water imported for agricultural needs
- foreign water imported for industrial products
Each layer individually is really interesting. You could spend a lot of time clicking around.
Finally, Water.org is a water charity that we trust and respect. Today, because of a sweet little deal they've got on Groupon right now, you've got a unique and limited opportunity to multiply your donation. If you donate $15, an anonymous donor will add on $10. That's $25 worth of donation for a mere $15. If you were ever going to donate to water causes, this would be the right time.
Join G-Team and donate $15 to help Water.org provide people with clean drinking water. An anonymous donor will supplement each pledge with a $10 donation, up to a total of $20,000 in matching funds. If G-Team members raise $8,000, Water.org can build one well in a developing country, providing an ongoing resource for clean water for an entire community. Any additional funds raised will contribute to getting more people access to clean drinking water. Today’s G-Team deal coincides with the global celebration of World Water Day (March 22), an annual event devoted to raising awareness of the problems caused by shortages of clean water.Unlike traditional Groupon deals, G-Team campaigns typically don't offer you a "discount" or "savings." So "buyer" beware—when you click "Buy" to donate your time or money to a worthwhile G-Team cause, the only discount you may receive is 100% off free, priceless karma.
Make the donation here.