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Every Drop Counts

Written by Jamie Ferschinger
    Monday, 18 February 2013
Every Drop Counts

When I was in college I took a year-long course titled Water 211. Before taking the class, I had a fairly average depth of knowledge and relationship with water: I consumed water, I used water, and I knew the basics about water. But beyond that, I didn’t give it much additional thought. Upon completion of the class my deep, and somewhat nerdy, fascination with water had blossomed. Water is truly amazing! Second to no other molecule, in my book.

In our everyday lives water is pretty ubiquitous; we live on the shores of Lake Michigan, there is a faucet in every house and public building, and we live in a humid continental climate. We are extremely lucky! This reality is not true throughout the world. Water is an extremely precious resource that is easy to take for granted when it is at your finger tips. So, here are some reminders of the wonders of water and reasons to not take it for granted.

All life depends on water and we cannot create nor destroy it; there is the same amount on the planet today as there was when dinosaurs were here. And while we cannot affect the quantity of water on the planet, we can affect the quality and the distribution of it.

Water covers about 70% of the earth’s surface. However, only about 3% of that water is fresh water, and about 0.014% of that water is readily available to us. Accessibility to fresh, safe drinking water is a privilege that is not shared by everyone throughout our country and the world.

The five enormous Great Lakes hold one fifth of the world’s fresh water. Lake Michigan is the second largest Great Lake by volume. Lake Michigan is in our backyard, it is where we get our drinking water, it is where we recreate, it is what affects our local climate, and its shore is where we watch the sun rise. It is a resource that we all use and enjoy, and it is our responsibility to be stewards of it.

So, let’s protect it! You can do things at your own home and in your community. There are a number of resources in Milwaukee for people to refer to when trying to make water-wise decisions. Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful (KGMB), Milwaukee Water Council, and UWM School of Fresh Water Sciences are a few examples. There is also a new online resource called H20 Score designed to help people “make smart, voluntary conservation decisions with personalized, clear, and secure water use information (H20 Score).” Using this tool, residents can monitor and compare their household water consumption over time relative to other people in their neighborhood, and they receive incentives for achieving and maintaining low H20 Scores.

We want to help you conserve water. Join us in March and April at both Riverside Park and Menomonee Valley for workshops and presentations about what you can do in your own home. Every drop counts, so let’s work together to make a difference and protect this precious resource, and my favorite molecule, fresh water!

Photo Credit: photo credit - John Suhar
Jamie Ferschinger

Jamie Ferschinger

With a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Communications and a Master's degree in Conservation Biology, Jamie brings a wealth of experiences and deep passion to her work at the Urban Ecology Center. As Branch Manager of the Riverside Park Branch, she helps to ensure that things are running smoothly and everybody is happy! Outside of work, Jamie enjoys running when the sun is coming up, spending time outside, cooking, listening to music and traveling to new places.

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