Inspired by LAUDATO SI’, the Encyclical Letter written by Pope Francis ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME


Jesus said to her, “If you only knew what God is offering and who it is that is saying to you. ‘Give me a drink’, you would have been the one to ask and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)


Water is in the ground, our oceans, in our atmosphere, in living things.  Indeed our own bodies are mostly made up of water! Water covers about 71% of the Earth’s surface!  The earth has an abundance of water, yet over 99% of the earth’s water is unusable for humans and other life.  You might ask how this could be possible.

The oceans holds about 97.2% of the Earth’s water which is too salty for drinking, growing crops and for industrial use except cooling.  About 3% of the Earth’s water is freshwater. 2.5% of this fresh water is unavailable and locked up in glaciers, polar icecaps, in soil, the atmosphere, and is either highly polluted or lies well below the earth’s surface. 0.5% is available fresh water. Like all of our natural resources, water is a finite resource!

What can we do to protect, share and manage this natural resource?

  • We can help ensure the provision of universal access to clean, safe, drinking water and sanitation.  It is estimated that one in four people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water. Give some thought and then action to how you might improve the lives of those who are without this fundamental human right.  Water and poverty are inextricably linked. 
  • With efficient and equitable management, water strengthens our resilience across social, economic and environmental systems. It is essential for health, food security, energy supplies, sustaining our livelihoods and for enabling ecosystems to thrive.  We are all in this together!
  • When we neglect to safeguard water and its sources, we create the potential to harm, divide and destroy societies.   The privatisation of water by large multinational corporations has the potential to lead to conflict.  International organisations are vital for reducing conflict over water and for promoting global cooperation. Do what you can to seek out and support these organisations.
  • To mitigate such potential threats, we need to adopt strategies (local and global) aimed at reducing the impact of freshwater shortages. A multi-agency, collaborative approach is required to monitor and regulate our water resources and that includes communities.
  • A commitment to financial investment will ensure that our water systems are adequately maintained and that our freshwater systems; our lakes, rivers, groundwater and coastal waters are protected and enhanced.
  • Our demand for freshwater in increasing.  A growing population coupled with extreme climate change events, droughts and floods are exacerbating an already threatened resource that all too often compounds our throw away culture and our connection with all that is connected, interdependent and interconnected. 
  • Water is partly an educational and cultural issue. Have a conversation with others about water. You can change minds and hearts and ultimately change behaviour.

What can we do to reduce our Water Footprint?

  • Turn off taps and take shorter showers.
  • Install low flow taps, shower heads and toilets.
  • Purchase water efficient dishwashers and washing machines.
  • Conserve water when brushing our teeth.
  • Pay close attention to your buying habits of food, energy and other products. Meat and dairy products, energy, clothes and many other products require a lot of water in production. 
  • Planting native plants with gravel require no irrigation (known as xeriscape landscaping). 
  • Use mulch to prevent evaporation on your existing garden beds.
  • Install rainwater harvesting systems which can be used for your yard or garden.
  • A gallon of Paint or a quart of motor oil can seep into the earth and cause pollution. Just one gallon of paint or one quart of motor oil can pollute up to 250,000 gallons of drinking water.
  • A spilled gallon of gasoline can pollute 750,000 gallons of water.
  • A leak that fills up a coffee cup in 10 minutes will waste over 3,000 gallons of water in a year. That’s 65 glasses of water every day for a year.

In the words of Pope Francis 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”. (LS30)