The importance of water conservation
Individuals and groups from all around the world recently came together at the World Environment Forum in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, to discuss ways in which to protect the natural world.
As water is one environmental issue that is in urgent need of addressing, this year's theme was 2013: International Year of Cooperation on Water.
"It is a critical moment. We must find solutions to protect the planet's living beings," declared Jean-Michel Cousteau, oceanographer and the president of the Ocean Futures Society, as he spoke on a panel relating to environmental services of the oceans.
President of the National Water council, Benedito Braga reinforced the need for water security in Brazil and worldwide, claiming that the technical solutions to the issue are all available, and what needs addressing are the political and financial concerns.
Other issues discussed included water sanitation, privatisation and the distribution of water around the world.
What about Australia?
Here in Australia we know all too well what the extremes of water can do. On one hand, we experience intense flooding, and on the other hand we are threatened by devastating drought.
Luckily, for the most part we have an adequate and healthy drinking water supply, unlike many other communities around the world.
What can I do?
Here in Australia, you can help to conserve water by using only what you absolutely need. Perhaps you can collect rain water in buckets outside and use that to water your garden.
Take shorter showers, only put the washing machine on once it's full, and don't leave the tap running.
As well as this, bottled water can be a scourge on the environment as often the plastic ends up in the landfill or polluting the natural landscape, including ending up in waterways and oceans, harming the local wildlife.
Opt to use stainless steel drink bottles instead, which can be washed, refilled and reused, reducing the amount of plastic waste that can harm the earth.