There’s nothing like waking up in the morning, enjoying a hot cup of coffee from a local roaster with a hearty breakfast of locally sourced eggs and vegetables. But did you know that by the time you’ve enjoyed your meal, you’ve already used 381 gallons of local water, too—and that’s not including your shower? Just two eggs from a conventional farm use almost 100 gallons of water on their way to landing sunny-side up on your plate.
Safeguarding water, a precious natural resource, is a priority for the local organization, Drink Local. Drink Tap., which sponsors beach clean-ups on the first Saturday of the month at Cleveland’s Edgewater Park and educates area students on ways to reduce plastic in the water supply. Cleveland is fortunate to be located on the Great Lakes, which hold 21% of the world’s supply of surface fresh water. Keeping it clean, however, is only one small part of the equation.
“It only scratches the surface,” says Erin Huber, the director of Drink Local. Drink Tap. “Agriculture uses close to 70% of the available fresh water we have and most people don’t think about how water impacts the food supply chain.”
According to the United Nations, the way water is managed in agricultural settings has caused wide-scale changes in ecosystems that cost the U.S. alone $9–$20 billion per year. Agriculture also contributes to climate change through its share of greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn affect the world’s water cycle, adding a layer of risk to food production.
“Full- and part-time growers can reduce the impact of agriculture on the water supply by using sustainable farming practices, such as capturing rainwater to water crops,” says Huber. “Community gardens are a great place to apply these principles,” she adds.
“By removing energy-intensive practices from personal food production, community farmers can take charge of their impact on our earth.”
Drink Local. Drink Tap. is committed to connecting people to local water, whether it’s on the Great Lakes or in Uganda, where the organization provides safe drinking water to villages without sufficient access. A new documentary called Making Waves from Cleveland to Uganda, which details Drink Local. Drink Tap.’s effort abroad, will screen at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival from October 2–6, 2013. For more information or how to get involved with the organization, visit DrinkLocalDrinkTap.org.