(Editor Comment: We commend high school senior Megan Okuma for her insightful article on water scarcity in the islands.)
By: Megan Okuma, Leilehua High School, Class of 2020.
As inhabitants of an island, most of Hawaii cannot fathom running out of water. However, although we are surrounded by such a precious resource, only 0.4% of the world’s water is drinkable. In Hawaii, most of our water comes from aquifers where it has traveled for years through soil and volcanic rock. This extensive, natural purifying system is the reason why Hawaii ranks first for water quality domestically. Yet with the population increasing and climate change affecting our rainfall patterns, Hawaii may see a decline of the cleanest water in the country within the next 100 years.
Conserving water is one of the easiest tasks in our environmental crisis to tackle as individuals because each of our actions directly affect the state of our water supply. We have complete control over the amount of water we use and if we take responsibility for this natural resource, we control the future of our water supply.
Water is not an infinite resource and, with a water cycle that has sustained Hawaii for ages, it makes more sense to change our habits rather than continue harvesting a finite resource with the same practices that created the problem in the first place. Of the 164 gallons of water used by residents every day, 100 gallons are used just for basic tasks: 20 to 50 gallons for showering, 18 to 24 gallons for flushing toilets and 26 gallons on running faucets. Through installing water- saving technology and routinely checking for leaks, the amount of water used can be reduced significantly. Fortunately, there is an array of technology designed to combat the water crisis from focusing on bigger efforts like creating a new source of freshwater to simpler efforts like home instillations.
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