Assalaamu alaikum,

“…and [that] We made out of water every living thing?…” (Quran 21:30)

Water is essential for life on earth. You might think that since 71% of the surface of our planet is covered with water, we have plenty. However, 96% of that water is in the oceans and less than 3% of all the water is fresh water. Overall, less than 1% of the fresh water is readily accessible and that has to meet the needs of nearly 8 billion people as well as all the other creatures, agriculture, and industry needs in our expanding ecosystem. Makes you wonder if we should be watering our lawns!

According to the United Nations, over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress. It is reported over 800 million of our fellow humans do not have access to clean water. Limited access to clean water means poor hygiene, which leads to disease and death.

Agriculture uses 70% of the fresh water, so not wasting food means not wasting water.

Sometimes we may think water comes from a tap or a bottle but millions of people must go out every day to gather water from near or distant sources, and carry it home to drink, cook, and clean. In many cases, children are assigned this task, meaning they are not able to go to school, resulting in poor literacy and less opportunity.

In Chicago, we are fortunate to be on the shores of the Great Lakes, which contain 20% of the world’s fresh surface water and 95% of the United States fresh surface water. This great fortune comes with great responsibility to properly manage our water use.

There are many simple, everyday things we can do to conserve water. Don’t run the water while brushing teeth (save 4 gallons a day); fix leaky faucets (10 gallons a day); fix a leaky toilet (60 gallons a day); use a fully loaded, energy efficient dishwasher rather than hand washing (20 gallons a day); and don’t waste water performing wudu (2-5 gallons a day).

We must adopt sustainable practices if we are to fulfill our responsibilities to our home planet!


Muhammad Munir Chaudry, president