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Growing up, I always made the assumption that (clean, drinkable) water would always be available. My wasteful habits are astonishing to look back upon: running water while brushing teeth; not turning the hose off while washing the car; and running the kitchen sink while washing dishes. The millions of gallons of water my family and I wasted make me cringe with disgust. This careless water behavior of mine has come to a screeching halt. The news about our dwindling water supply and countries around the world not having safe drinking water to survive is not so new. With our environment in peril, it’s time to truly make a change in behavior.

Today, the lack of clean water is the second largest killer of children under the age of five. This global crisis is due to the high demand for fresh water in our world. In a 2008 CNN interview with Maude Barlow, author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, Barlow explained: “One way or another, we have taken accessible clean water … and we have rendered it unusable. We take massive amounts [of water] and we irrigate the desert, where it evaporates. We’re pumping groundwater all over the world far faster that it can be replenished by nature. We are actually running out of fresh, clean water everywhere in the world, including here in North America. We have to give up this myth of abundance. We have come to the limits of the planet.”

How can we help our fragile planet’s water supply? This upcoming March 22nd through March 28th is World Water Week. We can all make an extra effort to support clean water access to everyone around the world. New York City based, Tap Project assists UNICEF’s endeavors to bring clean water to children all over the world. Participating “restaurants would ask their patrons to donate $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free.”

Starting in 2007, Tap Project was solely a NYC endeavor with 300 Manhattan-based dining locations. In 2008, it has grown more than 7 fold to 2,300 participators nationally (restaurants, corporations, volunteers, advertising agencies, community groups, local governments and everyday diners).

The Tap Project website allows you to locate a participating restaurant near you. Although it is too late to volunteer or sign up your restaurant for this year’s Tap Project, donations can be made to support UNICEF’s project to provide sanitized water for children around the world.

To kick off 2009’s Tap Project, a walk in both New York City and Chicago will occur. Although it is only a one mile event, the participants are encouraged to carry a minimum of one gallon of water to show support for “the millions of children worldwide who must carry water from distant sources each day.”

Be sure to visit Earth Promise as it has many ideas for you to change your wasteful water habits.

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