W is for Water

Water - why it is important?

It may seem pretty dull, but water is actually one of the most interesting and important things in the world.

Why?  Well …

  • Nothing can live without water
  • Whilst you could live without food for more than a month, you would only survive without water for about one week
  • We are mostly water ourselves – 70% of our body is made up of water
  • Two thirds of the world’s surface is covered in water, but only 1% of that water is actually drinkable by us
  • And even then, over three quarters of the water we can drink is frozen in the polar ice caps

It’s easy to say then that clean, drinkable water is very precious.

However, whilst most of us in the UK take water for granted, a staggering one billion people in the world don’t have access to clean water and, in fact, two million people die every year from water-related diseases.

Wasting water

We are lucky that in Britain we have clean water on tap whenever we need it.

However even here, whilst we think it rains a lot, if we have too many months of dry weather, lakes and reservoirs quickly dry up and we start to run low on water supplies.

This is because – aside from drinking water – we use it for lots of other things too:

  • Factories use water to make products and clean machinery
  • Farmers use water to irrigate their fields
  • People wash their cars and lorries to keep them clean and shiny
  • At home we use water for relaxing baths, cleaning the floor, watering the garden and lots more, even flushing the toilet

However, with only a limited amount of water available, we need to be careful not to waste it, because the most important use of water is by far us drinking it and staying nice and healthy!

How do we save water?

Saving water is an important thing to do and yet we still waste water everyday.

However, there are many easy ways to save water without even having to leave your house!

  • A running tap uses 6 litres of water a minute. So while you are brushing your teeth, turn off the tap until you need to rinse your mouth
  • A hosepipe uses as much as 1,000 litres per hour.  So when you or your parents water the garden, limit your use of the hosepipe.  Instead, try using old washing up water or install a water butt to collect rain water
  • Take a short shower rather than a bath and you could save up to 400 litres a week.  If you do have baths, just half fill them
  • Don’t overfill the kettle when making a cup of tea, only fill and boil what you need.  This will save you money on your energy costs too
  • Only use the washing machine and the dishwasher when you can put on a full load. It wastes both water and energy to run only a half full machine

The Co-operative’s Fairbourne Springs Water

The Co-operative understands the importance of water.  Working in partnership with the One Foundation they donate money from the sale of Fairbourne Springs Water to help give fresh water to those who really need it.

The Fairbourne Springs Water initiative has enabled over 1 million people across southern Africa to have access to fresh water by funding the creation of special roundabout-powered water systems called PlayPumps.  The PlayPump uses a specially crafted children’s roundabout to pump water from deep underground. So, as children play, fresh clean water is pumped into a storage tank for use by the entire community.

So if you are one of the many people who have purchased a bottle of Fairbourne Springs Water, well done!

If you want to find out more, watch this video featuring children and villagers in Swaziland talking about the difference having a PlayPump has made to them:

A to Z of Food, Health & the Environment!

Learn about energy and the environment, how food is farmed, and get some great eco-tips!


Download the series for free!

Listen to this series on your phone or tablet!