Why Waste Water?

Have you used the washroom already? Have you had a good bath already? How about breakfast? Kooko, waakye, omelet? That’s great. From the time you woke up till now how much water have you used? Did you know about 80% of the water you use each day becomes wastewater – that is water you no longer want; water you dispose off. Ahh what a waste? Centuries ago, water was an infinite resource. It is no longer the case now.

Fresh water, the single most important natural resource on the planet, is now a limited resource for which global demand is growing. Today, I want to ask you; Why waste water? Why are you wasting the water? You waste water by using more water than is needed to wash your cars and to do your laundry. You keep the tap running while brushing your teeth or rubbing soap in your sponge. I know you pay the bills but aren’t you wasting water by indulging in all these activities? Well, in the end, 80% is wasted and we return it mostly untreated into our environment.

How about our offices, institutions and industries? What is your water use regime like? Is more water than necessary being used? Doesn’t it make little sense that potable water is used for municipal washing, industrial cooling and irrigating crops? Do we discharge untreated wastewater into the environment on the blind side of the EPA? Have we considered the effect of untreated wastewater on the environment and how it directly impacts our standard of living? Think about this for a moment.

According to UN Water, by 2030, that is 13 years from today, the global demand for water is expected to grow by 50%. At the same time, due to population growth, accelerated urbanization and economic development, the quantity of wastewater will also increase. Well, it’s about time to stop wasting water and to start thinking of reuse.

Reusing water from our kitchen to water our flowers, treating bath and sewage water for watering our lawns, depuration of complex industrial wastewater for reuse in non-consumptive industrial processes, treating sewage for urban greening and if you are daring enough, treating your sewage to grow your vegetables. How about treating wastewater for re-flushing in schools and institutions? Yes it’s all possible.

Some of you at this point think I’m crazy. ”This guy paaa, what do you expect me to use my wastewater for again?” Well if you still think this way, ”wa ka ekyire paa”. I want to challenge you today to rethink what water means to you. Water, we all know is life but did you know water can also be death? Yes, remember the cholera outbreak a few years back? That is a classic water borne disease; i.e., the disease is transmitted through water. Well, this is what happens if we fail to properly manage our wastewater.

The opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Yes, the wastewater you generate is a resource. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials. It’s expensive doing all these I hear you say. But you see, the costs of wastewater management are greatly outweighed by the benefits to human health, economic development and environmental sustainability providing new business opportunities and creating more ‘green’ jobs.

Thankfully, you don’t have to do this alone. There is enough local expertise available to help you do this and you only have to ask. We have to think about the future. What legacy are we leaving behind for our children.

Two things to bear in mind anytime you think about water 1. How can you reduce the quantity of water you use at home, in the office or in the factory 2. How can you reuse the wastewater produced either directly or after treatment Every time you use water, ask yourself – Why waste water?

Author: S-lase Kuwornu