Why Waste Water?
(World Water Day, March 22, 2017)

World Water Day is celebrated on 22 March every year. The theme for 2017 is, ‘Why wastewater?’. Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society, flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. 1.8 billion people use contaminated water with the risk of contacting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water and poor sanitation cause the death of 842,000 persons each year. Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply. In this context we shall read reflectively the following observations:
“Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble,
and precious, and pure”
(Canticle of the Sun by Saint Francis of Assisi).

“Access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity”( Laudato Si no.30, Pope Francis ).

“Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for” (Sustainable Development Goals no.6).

We shall pray the Bible:
“So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them. Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. But the shepherds of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land”(Genesis 26.17-22).

Water is the lifeblood of the planet as well as the economy. Water is one of the symbols for God’s generosity and blessing, for healing and liberation. Today water has become a rare commodity and as psalm 24 says we long for it like a thirsty deer. When God wanted to speak of justice he said, “let justice roll like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream’ (cf. Amos 5,24). Today we live in a context where the rain fall is irregular, river does not roll, and the flowing streams are drying up. Demand for water, which is life-giving element, is ever increasing. The mode of production, pattern of consumption and life styles have made water a bone of contention. Water is used in pursuit of profits by a few. So we have to engage in reflection on the “economy of water”. We have to save water and re cycle and re use it. Like the Samaritan woman we shall join the humanity that asks, ‘ Lord give us water so that we will not be thirsty again’(cf. Jn 4, 13-15) .
We shall prayer: (After each intention we shall pray for a few seconds in silence).
We pray for the women and children who spend hours each day walking to collect water.
We pray for the 842,000 people who are dying every year due to polluted water and lack of sanitation and hygiene.
We pray that we may not contaminate the water sources by avoiding things like plastic water bottles
We pray for generosity is sharing water with the needy.
What shall we do to save water?:
We shall be economic in the use of water while bathing, shaving, brushing and washing the face by keeping the water flow closed when not needed.
Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily.
Operate washing machines only when they are fully loaded.
Repair dripping taps.
Wash the dishes in water contained in basins (separate basins for keeping soap water and fresh water for rinsing)instead of washing in running water.
Install water waterpurifyingsystemsonlywhennecessary
Water the garden only when necessary, that or in morning hours when wind speed is slow to reduce evaporation.
Avoid over-fertilizing the garden as fertilizers increases the need for water.
Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, groundcovers, shrubs and trees.
Encourage water conservation ethic among children and adults.
Support projects that will recycle the used water
Concluding prayer:
Gracious God, we pray for your guidance to be good stewards of water; pour out your Spirit to bring reconciliation wherever water has become source of strife and conflict; have mercy on those who are sick because of less access to safe water. We ask these through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(S. Vincent Anesthasiar,CMF)
Secretariat for JPIC, E mail: jpiccmf@cmfgen.org
Curia Generalizia, 00197 Roma.
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