Water is a basic necessity, yet so many people in the world don’t have clean access to it. We must all do our part to change this. But how? What new routines would substantially save water and help our planet?

Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is water: That means, of our planet’s approximately 500 million km2, nearly 350 million are covered by water. Most water is in oceans and seas, followed by glaciers and the polar ice caps; the subsurface; lakes; and rivers. 

Even though water may seem to be an abundant natural resource, only 0.025% of it is safe to drink. Therefore, clean water is actually quite rare, and some 2.2 billion people have no access to it whatsoever.  

It’s in our hands to change this. In fact, we can start making small changes to our routines at home, like these tips we recommend below. 

Tips to save water every day

A responsible drainage and water supply system that mitigates the effects of climate change starts with individual accountability. Some everyday measures that are simple and sustainable can provide some relief to one of the world’s biggest problems: the climate emergency. For example: 

  • Take shorter showers: Showers generally last around 10 minutes, which uses as much as 200 litres of water. To be sustainable, we should cut this time down by half and scrub ourselves with soap without the water running.
  • Thaw frozen food early: You can do it in the fridge or at room temperature, as long as you don’t run any water from the tap. 
  • Choose efficient electrical appliances: The less water and electricity they use, the more it will show on your electricity bill — and in the environment. If you have a dishwasher, wait until it’s fully loaded and don't rinse dirty dishes in the sink.
  • Use the toilet responsibly: Don't toss in wet wipes and other non-degradable things.  You should also prefer a dual-flush toilet to regulate the amount of water.
  • Tend your plants or garden at night: This will help you save up to 30% of the water that would otherwise evaporate in the morning or the afternoon.
  • Use a water-saving device for the tap: If your household fixtures aren’t up-to-date, consider using things like a flow limiter or flow switch. You should also turn it off when brushing your teeth or not using it in general. That way, you can save up to 6 litres a minute. 

The importance of water: Sustainable Development Goal 6

Water, a resource so basic to life, is one of the world’s biggest problems. Thoughtless use and poor management make it one of the world's primary sources of pollution: 80% of wastewater from human use goes back into nature, untreated. This leads to extreme weather that has caused more than 90% of the major catastrophes in the past ten years. 

That’s why water is fundamental to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on “clean water and sanitation”. According to the UN, if we limit global warming to 1.5º C above pre-industrial levels, drought rates would fall 50%. 

Santander wants to help achieve these fundamental goals and move society forward. At the United Nations General Assembly on 22 September 2019, we and 125 other banks became signatories to the Principles for Responsible Banking.

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