Friday, May 7, 2010



As we come to the conclusion of National Drinking Water week it’s time to reflect on how we use this precious commodity.  Science tells us that we can go a week without food, but only three days without water.
Don's Bayou, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida
Since only about 1% of the earth’s fresh water is usable by humans, animals and plants, it’s time to ask ourselves what we are doing with this life sustaining resource. 
Brown Pelican, Jacksonville, Florida
The water we get from our faucets can be drawn from groundwater, surface water from lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, or desalinated seawater.  It’s time to ask ourselves what contaminants we are adding to our water table in the form of motor oil, old prescriptions, cleaning solutions, etc.  Even when these are dumped on the ground, they end up in our water sources because of runoff and absorption into the ground. 
Dorothy Falls, New Zealand's South Island
The next time you need to dispose of any of these contaminants, stop a moment and think before you dump.  Most municipalities now have recycling programs for these types of items.  I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be drinking someone’s old motor oil, prescriptions or insecticides. 

Americans use around 100 gallons of fresh water per day.  Most of us take our clean water for granted, even abusing the privilege, believing it is a right which has no consequences.  We need to ask ourselves now--sooner rather than later--what we are doing to conserve our most precious commodity. 

A wise little cartoon character--a possum named Pogo. who lived in the Okefenokee Swamp--summed it all up when he said in a 1971 cartoon strip, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
Audubon Swamp backwater in the Francis Biedler Forest
Now is the time to start training our generation and the next to practice water conservation.  Children are never too young to learn good conservation practices.  Even a 3-year old can learn the lesson of conservation if it is presented in the right context.  The Raptor Project’s CD, “All Along The Watershed” is a perfect vehicle to teach this important lesson to the youngsters.

Clean water.  We can’t live without it and neither can our wildlife.
A Yellow Crowned Night Heron stalking crayfish 
Let’s not stop thinking about this problem at the end of “Drinking Water Week”.  Let’s make Drinking Water Week a lifetime practice.

Submitted by Billie Baumann, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator

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