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Water Conservation: An Issue for Nebraska and the Globe

More than 663 million people around the world live without a safe water supply close to home. (Pixabay)
More than 663 million people around the world live without a safe water supply close to home. (Pixabay)
March 22, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. – On this World Water Day, Nebraskans are being asked to step up conservation to help people, not only in the U.S. but around the world.

According to the United Nations, more than 663 million people live without a safe water supply close to home.

Although it isn't at crisis level in most states, lead-poisoned drinking water in Flint, Mich., has elevated concerns.

It's also an issue that Dan Haseltine with the band Jars of Clay holds close to his heart. During a trip to Africa to visit areas devastated by the AIDS crisis, he says the band was shocked to see people digging for water in dry riverbeds.
"And it didn't take long to kind of put some of the pieces together that if people are wrestling with this disease that destroys the immune system, and then they're having to drink water that is filled with bacteria and disease, it was the water ultimately that was killing people," he said.

Haseltine helped start "Blood:Water," which partners with African grassroots organizations to fight HIV/AIDS and the water crises. The group also encourages people to have some fun with conservation efforts.

One suggestion is a "water challenge," which could mean drinking only water for a number of days - or even going without it for an entire day.

Daniella Bostrom Couffe, communications manager for UN-Water, which coordinates water-related issues for the United Nations, says the small ways people save water throughout the day can make a difference.

"In your home, you can do just simple things as turning off the tap when you brush your teeth, or you can stop putting oil or leftovers in the plug hole [drain] so that the wastewater becomes easier to treat and then to reuse," she said.

Haseltine believes getting involved in the effort to bring clean water to those in need can also be an important break - a good way to focus on something other than the political strife in America.

"We just need a breath," he added. "We need somebody to tell us a better story that we can connect with, something that just means a little bit more."

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NE