Posts Tagged 'water quality'

A Blue View: Every Drop Counts

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

February 27, 2013: Every Drop Counts

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John discuss the importance of responsible water use!

A lot of us take water for granted. We simply turn on a faucet, and there it is, in seemingly endless supply.

Freshwater, however, is not as plentiful as you might think. Yes, the world is 70 percent water, a staggering amount. Of that water, 97.5 percent is salt water. The rest, just 2.5 percent, is freshwater. And of that, less than 1 percent of the world’s freshwater is available for use by people.

According to the United Nations, water use has grown at more than twice the rate of population in the last century. Around the world, many people don’t have enough water. Even in the United States, water shortages as a result of drought or environmental issues are on the rise. In 2010, the Natural Resources Defense Council found that more than 1,100 U.S. counties—one-third of all the counties in the lower 48—now face higher risks of water shortages by 2050.

According to the National Geographic Society, the average person in America uses nearly 2,000 gallons of water per day. Only 5 percent of that, however, is traveling through your faucets or watering your lawn. In fact, the water consumption is hidden in the food, products and services you use every day.

Our diets in particular are responsible for the majority of our water consumption. Take milk, for example. Eight-hundred eighty gallons of water are required to generate that one gallon of milk sitting in your fridge. And getting beef on the dinner table is one of the biggest diet-related water consumers: every pound of beef requires 1,800 gallons of water. Even a cup of coffee takes 55 gallons of water, due primarily to the water used to grow coffee beans.

To help consumers make more water-friendly choices, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established a program called WaterSense. This program certifies products and services that meet a set of water-conservation standards. Consumers can look for the WaterSense label on products like faucets, shower heads and toilets, and know it meets performance standards and is also 20 percent more water efficient than average fixtures! 

water sense label

If one in every 10 homes in the US installed WaterSense-labeled faucets, we could save 6 billion gallons of water per year.

Here are some ways YOU can conserve water: 

  • Calculate your water footprint to get a better sense of how much water you use per day. Awareness is an important first step in changing behavior!
  • Purchase water-friendly products for your home.
  • Live a water-conscious life: keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator so you don’t have to wait for the tap to run cold; go meatless and/or dairy-free once a week; buy local; take quick showers instead of baths; and turn off the faucet while washing dishes and brushing your teeth!
  • Check the plumbing! It’s estimated that each of us loses 10 gallons per day due to leaks.
  • For even more ways to conserve, click here.

If each of us just takes a few small steps to reduce our water consumption, we can make a big difference, not only in gallons but in the health of our planet’s finite supply of freshwater. 

Do you have any great tricks for conserving water? Share them with us in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter using #ABlueView!

National Aquarium has been selected to be a MSDE Gifted & Talented Summer Center!

We are proud to announce a new opportunity for gifted and talented middle school students this summer. The National Aquarium has been selected to be a Maryland State Department of Education Maryland Summer Center for gifted and talented middle school students, offering the Maryland Summer Center for Chesapeake Bay Watershed Investigations.

At the National Aquarium’s Summer Center, students will work alongside scientists at the National Aquarium and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science at Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, Maryland. Over a span of two weeks, the students will conduct scientific studies on water quality and biodiversity in different areas of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to determine the impact of water quality on biodiversity of the watershed as well as human impacts and possible solutions.

During the first week, a day program, students will use our exhibits to learn how water quality pertains to a closed aquarium system by identifying necessary water parameters for fish to survive and how to resolve water quality issues in a closed system. Using our fish collection as a study tool, students will identify local plants and animals and create a biodiversity study. The students will also have field visits to a freshwater and brackish water site where they will collect field data on water quality and biodiversity by kayak!

The mission of the National Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. By working with our scientists and staff, these students will be able to explore human impacts on watersheds, what possible solutions are being pursued and what we can all do to increase conservation.

In week two, a residential program, students will work at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science at Horn Point Laboratory. Working with the resident scientists, students will learn about and assist with current research efforts on key Chesapeake Bay species.

Dates of Operation:
Week 1: Daily program
July 23 – July 27 – 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (daily)
Week 2: Residential program
July 30 8:30 a.m. – August 3 5:00 p.m.

$400 total
Financial assistance is available

In order to apply, students must demonstrate outstanding ability through the Maryland Summer Centers application process and/or be identified as gifted and talented by their school. Students must be able to attend both weeks of the program. Parents/guardians are responsible for transportation to the National Aquarium. Transportation to the field sites and residential site will be provided. Applications are due by April 15, 2012.

Click Here for more information or to apply!

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