Held annually on March 22, the United Nation’s World Water Day brings attention to the importance of freshwater and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater. Globally, freshwater accessibility is critical for the survival of all living things, yet it is a significantly threatened resource.
Yes, the world is 70 percent water, a staggering amount. Of that water, however, 97.5 percent is salt water and just 2.5 percent is freshwater. The UN and like-minded institutions hope that World Water Day will help people recognize the importance of freshwater and the need to conserve this precious resource.
Like all living things, aquatic animals require plenty of water to survive. So, how does the Aquarium keep our animals happy and healthy and still manage to conserve freshwater?
If you've visited the Aquarium in recent years, chances are you've strolled through Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Waterfront Park (the greenery in front of our Pier). Did you know that underneath the plant life is a system of cisterns? A cistern is a waterproof receptacle for holding liquids. In 2012, we were able to collect an estimated 200,000 gallons of rain water that was then used to water the park. As a result, not a single drop of domestic water was used!
National Aquarium staff have also worked tirelessly to design and implement the most efficient filtration systems throughout many of our exhibits. These upgrades saved more than 430,000 gallons of water last year! Additionally, our new Blacktip Reef exhibit will have a state-of-the-art filtration system installed to further reduce our need for water, while still providing a healthy and thriving environment for our animals!
Want to do your part to conserve freshwater? Here are some easy ways to get started:
- Knowing where your water comes from is the first step in better protecting it! The Nature Conservancy has a great interactive map that can help you find your local water source!
- When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
- Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
- Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 150 gallons per month.
- Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation. Better yet, plant native plants in your yard. They require less water, fertilizer and time!
Do you have tips on how to conserve freshwater? Let us know in the comments section!