3 sustainable initiatives that are changing the way we use water
Around the world, more and more people are becoming conscious about the way we use water and, more importantly, the way we waste water. With increasing populations and decreasing natural resources, it’s vital that the world stops and takes a look at sustainable water management.
Here are some international studies that take a look at how different industries are changing the way water is used:
- Nestle looks at farming in the Indian Punjab
The Punjab area is one of the largest milk producing areas in the world and Nestle buys the vast majority of their milk from the region. This is why they took an interest in the farming of the area, and their use of water for agriculture.
Together with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Nestlé studied the water footprint of the farming systems in the area – specifically related to milk, wheat and rice. The results of the research showed that dairy farming has the lowest water footprint and should, therefore, be increased. In order to reduce the footprint of the other types of farming in the region, Nestle looked into using laser-assisted land levelling tools, and increasing the area’s capacity for capturing rain water in monsoon season.
- The water footprint of winemaking is studied in Stellenbosch, South Africa
There has been very little research done into how much water is used in the production of wine around the world. At Stellenbosch University, in the Western Cape of South Africa, one Masters student is currently looking into the water footprint of some local wine farms and seeing if that can be reduced.
No water is used in the actual wine. However, it is used to clean equipment throughout the process of wine making. In South Africa, there are regulations in place to ensure that this water is then treated so that it can be used for irrigation at the very least.
- The University of Iowa, USA, has established the Water Sustainability Initiative (WSI)
In 2009, the University of Iowa brought together a group of experts from a wide range of different professional backgrounds in order to tackle the problem of sustainable water management. The WSI has been researching the issues faced by communities both locally and globally. Their mission is to establish the key challenges around the world, specifically with regards to the availability of water and the quality of the water.
One of the group’s current projects is looking at how information regarding water use is given out and discussed in the media. It’s vital that the right message is portrayed as this informs public opinion and attitudes towards a very serious topic.