Tag Archives: water

World Water Day 2012

Just before Christmas 2011, there was a series of posts by Travel Bloggers on the theme “Travel Bloggers Give Back”. I’m not sure what they take in the first place. That aside, anyone who has scanned through these posts will find the water plays a big role. My favourite type of water is in the form of snow crystals, but water is way, way more important than that. We are comprised around 60% water. So this is my post in the same vein as “Travel Bloggers Give Back”, but if you know anything about me then you’ll realise that I don’t like riding on bandwagons, but prefer take the hard route and walk.Glass of water
Thought for the Day on BBC Radio Four was a programme I used to listen to before going to work. I remember one speaker relating the story of him giving a glass of water to a thirsty woman in Kenya. The woman took the glass and instead of drinking it immediately, she seemed to pause for reflection. Then it dawned upon the speaker that the woman was giving thanks to God for the glass of water. In the Developed World we don’t consider a glass of water to be precious. But it is. It seems likely that “Peak Water” has already gone. We sustain our present consumption by extracting water from aquifers that took thousands, sometimes millions to be filled. Glaciers are also retreating, they are another source of fresh water in summer. Even diminishing snowfall affects the water supply from the spring melts.
The real shocking thing is this; that something looked on as worthless and wasted by most of the developed world isn’t available to one in eight on our planet. This page of statistics gives an idea of the scale of the problem. I’ll add include one statistic from the page, namely that one child dies every twenty seconds due to diarrhoea caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. That’s more than deaths due to AIDS, Malaria and Measles combined.
My favourite charity is WaterAid as it is dedicated to raising the issue of clean water and providing support and resources to give clean water and toilet facilities to those lacking these basic necessities.  They also run some pretty excellent campaigns such as providing water and toilets at music festivals like Glastonbury. They also organise the WaterAid200 event where they a team of 4 – 7 people on 200 mountains in the UK and Ireland between 11am and 3pm. This year’s event takes place on Saturday June 16. There are mountains left if you want to join a team. Each team must raise a minimum of £400.

You can obviously support WaterAid financially by direct donations or fund-raising. But now you can also support the WaterWorks campaign. Take a photo to demonstrate how important water and toilets are to you and upload it on the  WaterWorks site. The best photos will be used in presentations to World Leaders ahead of talks in Washington in April to discuss concerted action on water and sanitation.

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

Daily photo: Spa, Belgium

Spa, Belgium

Bath House, Spa, Belgium

HDR photo.

Spa is located in the Belgian Ardennes and is famous for its hot springs, which are claimed to have health enhancing properties. The town has become eponymous with a place where the waters are used for their health enhancing properties. Spa-Francorchamps, the Belgian circuit, home to the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix is close by. There is also a large French language music; festival Francofolies, held each year in the town.
The surrounding area has numerous walks, including the long distance path GR5 coming through the town on its way between the North Sea and the Mediterranean. There is an Alpine ski resort, when enough snow falls and extensive cross country ski trails.

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

World Water Week 2009 last post

Saturday is the last day of World Water Week 2009. I have ran out of water saving tips for travellers for now, but look to the future for even more water saving schemes by accommodation providers.  Here in Belgium, we have a toilet that is even more efficient than dual flush. I’m not exactly sure how it works internally, but all you have to do to activate it is depress the flush button. If you don’t touch it again it will empty the cistern. However depress it again before the cistern has emptied the flushing action is  immediately stopped. The user can then judge how much water is required at each flush. The cistern also has a house brick in it to limit the amount of water used in a full flush. This system is backed up with grey water saved from showering or bathing. When having a shower the first few minutes of water tend to be cold. Instead of letting this water go down the drain, it is caught in a bucket and used for watering our plants. Soapy grew water is transferred to the bucket and used to flush the toilet. It would be good to have a plumbed in system to use this grey water, perhaps supplemented by water caught on the roof. Hotels, apartments, villas and chalets can easily adopt water saving measures such as these. I urge them to do so now, as even in areas with no water shortages, it still consumes significant amounts of energy to pump water around. Other steps could be a return to earth composting toilets and dry urinals. These are a little more of a cultural change but will gain acceptance.

Water is a big political issue as I among many others, feel that access to safe water is a basic human right. Privatised companies can only charge for purifying and transporting clean water as well as removing waste water and treating it. I am not against Private Water Companies, but they should only be a contracted out service of governments and councils and must be answerable to them and the electorate. There should always be an ample supply of free safe drinking water to those that cannot afford to pay, even if it is from standpipes.

As I wrote in my first post, safe drinking water and effective sanitation is something that is not  universally available. One in eight people do not have safe water to drink and over 40% of the world’s population live without adequate sanitation. Non Governmental Organisations such as WaterAid do a great deal to provide solutions to the crisis and get actively involved in affecting political change. I have supported WaterAid in the past and am doing so this week by giving a charitable donation at www.wateraid.org. Of course there are other water charities including Just a Drop and Charity:Water.

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

More water saving tips for World Water Week

Wednesday of World Water Week so time for two more water saving tips for travellers.

Tip 5

Report any leaks to your accommodation provider immediately. It could be a leaking tap or a toilet cistern constantly dripping water, but the water wastage over time is significant.

Tip 6

Do not support golf courses, theme parks  or ski resorts that consume excessive amounts of water. You as a consumer have the final say as to whether or not a business thrives or fails. Golf courses are often an oasis in a desert. This is because they consume vast amounts of water keeping their greens and fairways irrigated. Often this is at the expense of local agriculture and inhabitants. Golf courses  regions with a water scarcity should be looking at using strains of grass that do not require much water. Sure they may not look as attractive or be as soft to walk on, but they can be sustainable, whereas some of the oasis type golf courses certainly are not sustainable. The same applies to landscaped gardens in attractions such as Theme Parks. Finally ski resorts now increasing use snow cannons to supplement natural snowfalls with artificially made snow. An additive is used to stop the snow from melting as easily. This all ends up in the mountain environment. The process also consumes vast amounts ‘of water potentially straining local water supplies. Mountain-riders.org produce a booklet that compares the eco performance of many of the world’s ski resorts.  Check whether your resort relies heavily on snow cannons.

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.