Sustainable Waco: World Water Day
by Melissa Mullins
Most people have heard of Earth Day, celebrated on April 22 each year and started in 1970 when millions of Americans demonstrated in protest against deterioration of the environment. But not as many people are aware of World Water Day, celebrated on March 22 every year. Every year you can find World Water Day information on worldwaterday.org , including the theme for the year.
This year’s theme is “The Answer is in Nature” and explores issues around how we can reduce floods, droughts, and pollution. As stated on the website “damaged ecosystems affect the quantity and quality of water available for human consumption. Today, 2.1 billion people live without safe drinking water at home; affecting their health, education, and livelihoods.” Communities around the globe, including in Texas, host celebrations for World Water Day.
Don’t limit World Water Day to one day of the year! Practice conservation and water-friendly living practices throughout the year in your daily life. There are many ways to conserve and protect water. We’ve probably all heard about tips like fixing leaky faucets, or not over-watering or over-fertilizing our yards, or picking up pet wastes. But what about “hidden” uses of water? Baylor University’s Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research offers a monthly virtual classroom visit for schools, and on this month’s visit a student asked “what can I do to conserve water?” And the CRASR scientist answered “turn off the lights!” –you may not think about it, but electricity generation is a HUGE water user!
In addition to observing water-friendly living practices in our personal lives, citizens can have a voice in decision-making around water issues in our community. Water planning in Texas is coordinated through a state water planning process, and locally we are in the Brazos G Regional Water Planning Group which meets here in Waco at the Brazos River Authority offices. Meetings are open to the public and there are opportunities to serve. The City of Waco has the Sustainable Resource Practices Advisory Board, whose purpose is “to advise the City Council on the development and/or support of ecological and environmentally sound programs and policies within Waco”, which certainly includes water!
The Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research at Baylor University has often supported Citizen Science efforts for monitoring local water bodies by schools as part of the World Water Monitoring Challenge. If you have ideas about events you’d like to see for World Water Day next year in Waco, let’s talk!
Melissa Mullins is an aquatic scientist who coordinates education and outreach at Baylor’s Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research. She is a Baylor alum (M.S. Environmental Biology ’95) and is on the Board of the Informal Science Education Association of Texas which focuses on promoting science learning outside the classroom. She loves goats and yoga and recently visited the Nile River in Uganda as part of a Baylor trip. She believes that a vibrant scientific community that includes the public in its work is a fundamental underpinning of a democratic society.
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