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Save the water, save the planet

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Thousands Have Lived Without Love, Not One Without Water.”

WH Auden

The Problem is very simple, the world is coming to the end of our drinking water supply. Regardless of the many places in the world that are not in a drought, the amount of drinkable water is running low worldwide. Without water, humanity can’t survive, therefore, making it not only another environmental issue but our survival that is at stake in this issue.

INITIAL INSPIRATION AND SKETCHES

When starting my Catalyst Conference Project, I decided that I originally wanted to create some kind of info-graph to inform my viewers of the importance of sustainable water usage. To create this info-graph, I drew some examples of them, where I could present my information in a clear fashion, making it easy to read and understand while also igniting a call to action in the reader. While I think I accomplished this task in most of the examples, I definitely lacked the same final product in some of the other demonstrations/sketches. Here are my results

MOOD BOARD AND DESIGNER INSPIRATION

Once I had an idea of how I wanted to organize my information, using my sketches as a template for that organization, I started looking throughout the internet for some ways that other designers have used different elements/principles of design to introduce different ideas to their viewers. I looked throughout Behance and Pinterest to see how other designers have incorporated the same elements that I was hoping to incorporate. Here are the results of my internet exploration.

FROM PINTEREST: These photos are all images that I could incorporate into any of the designs that I showed in my sketches. The shades of blue could be used for directing color options while the image of the globe and faucet are images that I could use for reference when creating my own clipart.

FROM BEHANCE: I found a few examples of infographics that were easy to read and contained a lot of information. One thing I noticed was how each infographic used the blank space to incorporate the beautiful blue hues that water reminds us so nicely of. Also, I was drawn to the contrasts on the pages, all of which were depicted through different shades of blues. These infographics were from student designer Cherie Victoria Bello (bottom image), the Irish Water Conservation Campaign [Lydia Palmer, Helen Mulcahy, Martyna Potocka and Cian O Mahony] (middle and rightmost image) and Hector Zuno (leftmost image)

RESEARCH

1.1 Billion people lack access to water while 2.7 billion have a hard time finding water one month a year

only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater and we can use ONLY freshwater to bath in, drink and irrigate farms

Climate change is increasing precipitation in areas around the equator (Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and Central America) which puts those regions in danger of river flooding.

world-wide population is growing which means we need more water regardless of whats happening with it

groundwater is being depleted, about 30% of Earth’s freshwater is in aquifers underground and is extracted daily at dangerously unsustainable rates.

there are currently 844 million people living without access to clean, safe water

A lack of water can have dramatic effects on other aspects of life as well. For example, a lack of clean water is locking women in poverty because they are spending more time looking for and carrying clean water to their families than they should be. Women and girls, across the globe, spend around 200 million hours a day hauling water for their families and it would take 50$ a day to send clean water to a woman or girl in Africa. Also, by having clean water, it multiplies the health benefits of water, reducing the spread of illness and disease.

On a different note, a lack of clean water impacts entire ecosystems. Without water carrying nutrients to plants, entire ecosystems break down because plants are the fundamental aspect of any ecosystem. As demonstrated by the diagram to the side, water helps trees in the rainforest to grow, which in turn provides nutrients to both the tree itself and other organisms that feed off the tree. This cycle continues until it reaches the highest levels of carnivores in an ecosystem.

I also was given the opportunity to interview some of the Environmental Science students at my high school. Here were some of my results from that conversation:

Why is water so important to the well being of the planet? Well, you basically just asked this but you need water to fuel ecosystems through plants and then all animals also need to be drinking water. Also, rain is a result of condensation from the clouds. Water is a foundation of some seaside cultures and the ocean’s fluctuations can speak to the world and its future, taken for granted by a lot of groups

Is all water available drinking water or does it come from other places? you have water that is above ground level so like lakes, the ocean, seas, rivers, etc but there is also groundwater that provides most of the water that we drink groundwater is found underground level and is acquired through aquifers (a body of permeable rock which can contain or transmit groundwater) in other words, they have openings that liquids and gases can escape through, which can then turn into other forms of those elements (condensation —> water) the biggest aquifer in the US is located under the plains between Texas and South Dakota and is called the Ogallala Aquifer

Can you tell me a little more about the problem of a lack of water? The problem of a lack of water is bigger than people realize and it makes me not want to have kids because we could very easily be without water in a short amount of time. Water is the cornerstone to human survival and the survival of the rest of the planet, without it we are all screwed so we need to be more aware of how we are using our water and we need to do our best to make sure that we aren’t abusing it. Also, we use a lot more water than we think we do on a daily basis like we are going to run out quickly if we keep going at the same pace because there is really only so much to go around.

I also visited the Pulgas Water Temple to gather a better understanding of how water gets from the Hetch Hetchy Valley to the Bay Area. (A note for those who do not live in the San Francisco Bay Area, our water supply comes from the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite, this decision [to have our water supply come from this valley] was a very heavily debated topic in the early 20th century when the reservoir was created). Here were my findings

  • The project took 24 years and 102 million dollars to build the dam and the transportation system to get water the 160 miles throughout Northern California from Yosemite to San Francisco.
  • It was finished in the fall of 1934 and was warmly welcomed as people remembered how the 1906 earthquake and fires had destroyed much of SF.
  • The water temple, which was dedicated to this historic and necessary project, holds the quote ” I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people”. This quote suggests that it was an act from God that the people of the Bay Area were blessed with fresh, Hetch Hetchy water

This project has a lot of personal significance for me because of how a lack of water through deep droughts affects me and the way I live my life. I live in Northern California and ever since I can remember, we have been in a significant drought. A couple of years ago, we were at such a lack of water that restaurants would charge customers for water and prices on water were so expensive that families wouldn’t shower at their own homes. Along with driving the price of water up, the California drought has taken all of the moisture out of the land to the point where everything is dried and crispy. This crisp is what makes California so susceptible to wildfires. Just this November, we had record wildfires that burned over 260 hundred acres of Northern California. Although each spring we get closer and closer to getting rid of our drought, we will continue to always be in harm’s way of a serious drought that could have very serious consequences.

VIDEO PITCH

SOLUTIONS

Here are some solutions and ways to conserve water that I found through my extensive research:

  • turn off the water when brushing your teeth
  • only wash full loads of laundry (and the same goes for your dishwasher)
  • take shorter showers or only turn the water on when you need to rinse soap out of your hair or off your body
  • water plants in the morning/night to reduce evaporation and maximize the water used
  • scrape dishes instead of pre-rinsing them with water
  • wash your foods in a pot of water instead of under running water
  • be aware of when your sprinklers are being turned on so that you can make sure they are being used at night when the majority of the water will get soaked into the grasses instead of evaporating
  • let your water get cold in the fridge instead of running the tap for cold water
  • don’t take full baths
  • find and fix any leaks in your pipes
  • re-use your pasta water!
  • re-use greywater in your plants

In addition to discovering these solutions, I am branding a portable hand sanitizer that will contain this information in order to raise awareness of the issue. Here is the hand drawn design for that branding

THE FINAL PRODUCT

To create a call to action for my project, I set up a station at my school to share my project with students around campus. I told them about the research I have done and I introduced my final product and why I thought it is a good idea for reaching some sustainability. Here is a photo of some students preparing for my little talk about our lack of water.

Thank you for spending the time to look through my project!

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COMMENTS: 2
  1. April 28, 2019 by Sheena Kwon

    I think this is a really good topic to address because of how important it is to conserve our environment. I think small steps like these can help towards conserving water. I wonder if there are any large scale changes you would recommend people take. Those kinds of movements could help inspire actual policy change. Additionally, how would the hand sanitizer be made? Would it be made out of plastic or a sort of disposable material? I think it could be cool to add how you are helping the environment by introducing a hand sanitizer that is environment-friendly and biodegradable.

  2. April 30, 2019 by Christopher Ko

    Great topic. I like the idea of using drawings to convey your message. It really shows the amount of time and effort you took to produce this project. I really like the solutions that you gave. Small things like reusing pasta water can make some impact towards saving water and something that most people won’t ever think about. Currently we have mass carbon emissions that contributes to the increase in ocean acidification. What are your opinions on that?

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