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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Clean water is a basic human right

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

The fight for clean water doesn’t end after drought stops

When you woke up this morning, what did you do? Did you brush your teeth, take a shower or perhaps cook some oatmeal for breakfast?

It’s so easy to turn on a faucet that most people don’t give a second thought to how much water they use on a daily basis.

However, water is a precious resource. The average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water daily, with 70 percent of this water being used indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

During the California drought, there was an increased awareness of water protection on the UC Davis campus. UC Davis created a Drought Response Action Plan and an Energy and Water Challenge in the residence halls. In December 2015, UC researchers led a UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative. According to the UC Davis’ University News website, UC Davis lowered its nonpotable irrigation water usage by 30 percent from 2014 to 2015. The UC Davis Water Dashboard website shows how much campus water is being used, and the campus is currently on track to reducing its water usage by its 36 percent goal.

While the Editorial Board acknowledges the progress UC Davis has made in water conservation, we hope that students continue to become more aware of the need to preserve water and create sustainable water practices. We should not become complacent just because the drought has ended.

We also must become more aware of others’ inability to access clean water. In Flint, Michigan, citizens have not had access to clean water since 2014. The lead-contaminated water, which can cause children to have lower IQs and more issues with learning and language processing, affected as many as 8,000 children. Because of this, the people in Flint have been using bottled water to wash themselves, drink and cook. The amount of media attention given to this crisis has significantly decreased in recent years.

Clean water is a basic human right, and we need to fight to ensure that it is accessible to everyone.

On May 11, the ASUCD Office of Advocacy and Student Representation (OASR) hosted a Flint Water Crisis Learning Demonstration, where 112 water bottles with Flint fact sheets were given out to passersby. The Editorial Board applauds OASR for its efforts to increase student awareness of these issues and encourages students to attend events like these to learn more about the impact water has on communities.

Students who are interested in donating to or helping those in Flint can visit the website Help for Flint.

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