Today, March 22, 2022, is World Water Day. While this year's theme is Groundwater - Making the Invisible Visible, before we drill in on that let's step back and take a look at how much water is on earth and what shape does it take.
Roughly 71% of the earth's surface is water and 97% of that 71%, ~68.5%, is the ocean so that leaves ~2.5% as freshwater. Of that ~2.5%, ~69% of that freshwater is stored in glaciers and ice caps, one of many reasons why climate change melting glaciers and ice caps is of such great concern, and the remaining ~31% is accessible for human consumption which amounts to ~.75%, 3/4 of 1%, of all water on this planet is available for the ~8 billion people today and forecast to grow ~11 billion by 2100 according to United Nations (UN) estimates. And while freshwater from lakes, rivers, streams, swamps, etc. accounts for < 1% of the available supply, it's pretty obvious we have some serious issues here that highlight the bigger challenges we have.
As for groundwater, that makes up ~30% of the 31% of freshwater that is accessible for humans and herein lies our biggest challenge and that is managing the supply of groundwater when the vast majority of it is not visible. As we are in Oregon, we'll take a quick look at the challenges being faced due to the ongoing drought in the western US that kicked off in 2000. Climate change is real and growing worse year by year as the warmest 10 years on record have now all happened since 2010 as 2020 was the 2nd hottest year on record and 2021 was the 6th hottest year on record. As a result, groundwater levels across the US, and especially in the west, are in decline as the heat stresses the supply along with commercial pressures.
So while the theme of 2022, Groundwater - Making the Invisible Visible, is incredibly timely, and really overdue, please keep in mind that while humans can go weeks without food, typically we can't go more than 2 to 4 days without water so water truly is the most precious of all commodities / resources.
Going to start a new practice on every blog post and that is to highlight Patagonia and it's business model as in 2021 the company was voted the most reputable company in the US. Patagonia's business model of investing 1% of revenue back into environmental organizations is now available for other companies to adopt through 1% for the Planet. It's why BeachNecessities.com is a corporate member of 1% for the Planet and works to protect our beaches, ocean, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, one baja hoodie / baja jacket / drug rug at a time.