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We changed the times

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In days gone by, there was enough water to live on and in. Times have changed and we are the ones that changed them

Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA).

A long, long time ago, before we roamed this world, there were many fish in the ocean and there were 1233.91 quintillion litres of water on earth.

Then, over the course of countless generations, flippers turned to feet and scales to skin.

Slowly life evolved, primates became more upright and uptight, and as we gradually became accustomed to our move from sea to soil, somethings remained consistent.

For one, as it was in the beginning, is now and forever more shall be, there were 1233.91 quintillion litres of H20 on earth.

Water is odourless, shapeless and colourless. It can seamlessly morph from solid, liquid and gas.

It can appear from nowhere yet is very often nowhere to be found. It travels from place to place but cannot be created or destroyed no matter how hard we try.

It is because of our attempts at creation and destruction that we are facing a crisis and unprecedented thirst and not an actual shortage of water.

In days gone by, there was enough water to live on and in. Times have changed and we are the ones that changed them.

We multiplied. We consumed. There are still 1233.91 quintillion litres of water on earth.

Water, water everywhere yet not a drop to drink. Well hardly a drop. About 97 percent is salty. Another two percent is fresh but frozen. That leaves us with a tad over 12 quintillion litres to share among ourselves.

Don’t let the 20-digit numbers fool you. That isn’t much. It was enough to sustain generations past but we’ve been busy.

Children are not the blessing they were when a common cold could decimate a population. In fact, they’re a curse that we have far too much practice and take far too much joy in inflicting on the world.

There is more than enough water but unfortunately, there are too many people. Some are good but most of them are selfish. All of them are parasites, only too willing to contaminate when they should be conserving as long as it’s convenient.

We jokingly drink beer to save water never considering that a pint of lager requires up to 74 litres of water to produce.

While coffee can cause dehydration, it’s ironic that, from plantation to percolator, your morning cup of java can need as much as 130 litres of H20 to help kickstart your day.

Even the shirt on your back mopped up thousands of litres to find its way into your wardrobe.

However, it is our eating habits that are likely to leave us parched as a single quarter-pounder soaks in as much as 1 650 litres.

Nearly a quarter of the world’s water supply is used for industrial purposes while general household use constitutes only eight percent.

The other two-thirds goes towards agriculture and producing foods for a growing and increasingly picky population with impractical preferences.

Goldman Sachs consider water to be “the petroleum of the 21st century” with the cost of everything hinging on its availability.

It’s a precious resource that needs to be valued accordingly.

If we don’t, we die. It’s that simple.

Yet, even then, there will still be 1233.91 quintillion litres of water on earth.