Some environmental issues seem to be so huge that it’s easy for us to feel helpless.
Take the issue of water. Just a fraction (0.77%) of the world’s water is okay for us to drink. And with the global population doubling, and water consumption increasing fivefold, in the last 100 years, our water is under stress. Many parts of the world now face the real threat of water scarcity.
But that’s not to say the situation cannot be improved. In fact, small actions that we can all make will collectively make a big difference.
This is certainly the philosophy of a new campaign launched in Mexico. Here, it is no exaggeration to say water availability is more worrisome than in most places on Earth. Mexico City and the various municipalities of the Valley of Mexico have the lowest water availability levels in the world.
For the 22 million people that live here, there is less than 1,000m3 per home per year. The amount of water withdrawn for people to drink represents 18.5% of the total water available, according to UN data. For the UK, that figure is just 5.7%.
Add in the impacts of climate change, which bring about more droughts and floods, and the water scarcity challenge has intensified in recent years.
A new campaign on water use
Fig.1: With the water that you let run down the drain, you can make a tree grow! Indeed, with the water collected in a bucket under the shower head you can water your garden.
Fig.2: Did you know that when you take a shower, you waste at least 20 liters of water per minute? That is without taking into account all of the water that drains away while you wait for it to be warm.
To help people think more consciously about their water use, the Mexican Water Advisory Council (MWAC / CCA - Consejo Consultivo del Agua) teamed up with Mejor Teatro, a top theatre production company in Latin America, to launch the #AguaDeMiCorazón campaign.
Tapping into the popularity of a number of famous actors from Mejor Teatro on social media, the two organizations set out to convince people of the benefits of saving water now and in the future – as well as ways in which we can improve our daily habits.
According to MWAC data, running a bath uses up at least 20 liters of water per minute. Every minute you leave a tap running while brushing your teeth wastes 5 liters of water.
The #AguaDeMiCorazón campaign saw the likes of Maca Carriedo, Pamela Cerdeira, Violeta Isfel and Faisy – big-name Mexican stage actors – use a series of social media posts to give tips and advice on saving water.
For every minute that you leave the tap open while you brush your teeth, you waste at least 5 liters of water.
Fig.2: For every minute that you leave the water hose on when you are washing your car, you waste up to 12 liters of water. Act now and don’t let it go.
Supported by Nestlé Waters, which has played a leading role within the MWAC, the digital campaign ran between October and December 2019. It will also feature as part of the Museum of Natural History of the Ministry of Environment in Mexico City as it celebrates March as being the ‘month of water’.
Water use awareness and interaction
In driving awareness of the issue and getting people to talk about water use and scarcity issues, the campaign has been a big success. A ten-day Facebook campaign, for example, saw Pamela Cerdeira’s posts reach 36,544 people and more than 4,000 interactions. Similarly, Maca Carriedo’s video on the subject generated 5,322 views and 4,052 comments, likes and shares.
On Twitter, Faisy’s social media posts using the #AguaDeMiCorazón hashtag reached almost 20,000 people, with 1,900 making a comment or sharing the stories to their own networks.
Fig.1: The bathroom is the place in the house where we use the most water, and hence where we waste it the most. Turn off the shower when you are putting soap on, shaving and brushing your teeth!
Fig.2: What about washing your car with the use of a bucket, taking 5 minute showers, detecting and repairing leaks in a timely manner? You can make a difference!
Saving water and encouraging people to be more conscious of how they use the planet’s most precious resource is crucially important – and connecting with people via their social platforms online is key to initiating change, one small step at a time. By working together in making changes at home, we can all make a significant difference. As Mother Teresa famously said: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”