Since life began, we have had the same amount of water on the planet. To the best of human understanding, life can only exist with water. According to Conservation.ie, The average person in Ireland uses 80 to 100 gallons of water each day, which means that about 1.2 billion gallons of potable water are used in Ireland each day. However, during medieval times a person used only 5 gallons per day.

In Ireland, we can all agree that our safe, potable water is taken for granted. That fact that we have never really had a serious, long term water shortage in Ireland, can be attributed to that. A shortage of water, even during the time of the Great Famine was unheard of. Water is so plentiful in Ireland, with 1000mm – 1400mm of rainfall every year. So why then do Irish people buy bottled water?

This is one of the questions raised at the Development Education Training. Why buy water when we have free, safe water in our taps?

This is where the Climate Action circle gets roped in. The climate action circle is when there is a problem, but the solution can lead to the problem itself. See below, the bottled water reference. People buy bottled water, but they know that this increases the use of single use plastics, with only 1 in 4 plastic bottles are recycled. The user then decides to try free potable water. However, in some cities in Ireland, the smell of chemicals in water is the biggest turn off. As well as this, some cities have a history of having bacteria such as E-Coli prevalent in the water. The only solution to this? Buy bottled water. Of course, you can boil your water, but this is only limited to a certain volume of water which may be inconvenient for some families.

 

This leads to another question, why is the water treated? Why is it, during the famine water could be drunk freely but now we must treat the water with chemicals such as Chlorine, potassium chloride, citric acid and chlorine dioxide.

Part of it can be put down to the fertiliser we put on our land. Most of the crops grown in Ireland are not organic, therefore fertiliser is applied to ensure successful growth of crops.

So, the only way to try find a successful solution to Ireland’s wastage of water is to break the circle. Choosing more organic fruit and vegetables, going vegetarian are some of the solutions which can have a real impact on the future of our planet. 

About Author
Name: Gemma Lynch
Volunteer Sending Agency: EIL Ireland
Award: Gold
SDG: 12