Posted on March 22, 2012 by Xavier Toby

It’s World Water Day. Should we care?

Today’s World Water Day. Don’t worry, I didn’t know either. Well obviously I know now because I’m writing about it, but it was only after I read a Facebook Update that pointed out the differences between it and ‘Waterworld’.

That shocking Kevin Costner film set in a post-apocalyptic future where everyone had a great tan, was really attractive, wore only rags and owned a boat. Pretty much like an America’s Cup where everyone’s involved and the prize is food.

Since most of Australia is currently underwater, or at least nice and moist (sorry girls, I know you hate that word) it’s easy to forget that the past decade in this country was the driest on record.

Talkback radio hosts and other assorted idiots are calling for work to stop on desalination plants because our dams are full right now, which seems a little silly. That’s like going to the supermarket after a big meal and not buying anything, because you’re not hungry. Or tearing up a winning lottery ticket, because this week, you can cover the rent.

Australian tap water is also some of the purest. Except in Adelaide where the water is some brown gritty substance that’s great for scouring pots, but tastes horrible.

In this country we refuse to drink recycled water, that’s water which has been through someone else, not because the technology isn’t there to make it safe and clean, but because it just sounds gross. Who wants to drink someone else’s pee? Well, Bear Grylls does, but he’s an idiot.

Several countries do use recycled water, and soon in Australia we won’t have a choice, and watch how fast the whining stops when it’s either recycled water, or no water.

Being concerned over the origin or water that’s completely fine to drink is such a first world problem. It’s up there with having to be content with soy milk in your coffee, because the café’s out of rice milk. Or having to use a public toilet, or waiting five minutes to be served at a sushi bar. Try it, feels like for-ev-er.

Worldwide drought is still the single most common cause of severe food shortages in developing countries. It caused more deaths during the last century than any other natural disaster. Those with access to water also tend to have lower levels of undernourishment.

Each year World Water Day has a different theme, this year it’s food security. As the population continues to rise, and climate change reduces rainfall in some areas, it’s worth considering how much water is used to produce our food.

For example, it takes about 1500 litres to produce one kilo of wheat, but 15,000 litres to produce one kilo of beef.  Should we all become vegetarians? Or course not, meat is delicious, but in the future we might not have a choice. Boo.

For more information on World Water Day: www.unwater.org