The following is an essay by Clare, a student at Tappan Middle School in Ann Arbor. For the past ten years, she has worked with the Buhr Park Children’s Wet Meadow Project, which helps to protect Malletts Creek, a tributary to the Huron River. Since water is important to her, she picked it as the subject of this article, which was an assignment for Ms. Roth’s social studies class.

The world is running out of clean water, and the UN estimates that by 2025 two in every three people will be living under “water stress.”  Even though the water of the Great Lakes could cover forty-eight of the United States with 9.5 feet of water, as the clean supply of water around the world starts to decline, people in Michigan should worry about this issue.  Right now, we need to conserve the clean water we do have.  As the world runs out of clean water, people without water will look to Michigan and its Great Lakes for water.  Sharing too much of our water would lead to great water loss for the Great Lakes.  It might even result in a situation like the Aral Sea.

Today one in five people across the world have no access to safe drinking water, according to BBC News.  One reason for the world’s water crisis is that the world’s population is

growing, along with the desire for better living standards.  Also, inefficient irrigation wastes water by letting water evaporate or seep away before it can do any good.  Pollution makes water unsafe for drinking which is another leading cause.   Wetlands and lakes which can recharge the water system are being drained because of overuse.  Deserts are growing along with wildlife destruction.  Let’s take action to help these negative consequences from happening.

First, everyone needs to conserve the water they have.  When you brush your teeth, or wash your hands, turn off the water.  This small action saves at least two to four gallons of water.  Eat less meat.  It takes 2,400 liters of fresh water to produce one hamburger.  Since the people in central Asia used a little bit too much water from their small pipe, the Aral Sea has lost 90% of its volume in the last forty years.  Already our environment is being damaged.  Let’s stop that.

In addition to the actions mentioned above, donate money to an organization, such as Clean Water Action and the Huron River Watershed Council, that work to protect wetlands and lakes.  If an organization has an event to either raise money or clean up a stream, go out and support the event.  Supporting the organizations’ efforts makes a difference.

Finally, encourage your local, state, and Federal governments to pass and support laws that protect water, such as the Great Lakes Compact.  Any small bit that you take a part of will make a big difference.

As the water scarce regions of the world continue to run out of clean drinking water, the people of these regions may demand the water of the Great Lakes.   It is important to keep the water of the Great Lakes within the Great Lakes basin, because once the water goes away, it will not come back.  Finally, people may even start to fight wars over water, like people have fought over oil.   We are not at that point yet, but it is likely to happen unless people of the world conserve that water that they have.  If we do start doing some of these things, we may be able to regain some of the wetlands and lakes we have lost, and possibly solve the problem completely.  To do this, we will need the participation of everyone. It will take work, but I believe we can do it.

by Clare, a student at Tappan Middle School in Ann Arbor