Today is World Water Day!




Today is World Water Day, 2013. Access to potable water is recognized as one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century.  Because the United Nation’s “Millenium Goal” is to provide access to half of the 1.1 billion people in the world who do not now have potable clean water and sanitation facilities, they have designated 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation and March 22 is World Water Day


Pam Lyons Gromen, who works for National Coalition for Marine Conservation and chairs our UU church‘s volunteer work at Catoctin Creek Park, sent me an e-mail crammed with information about water, including the following.  Thanks, Pam.  A note from me:  Steve King, who wrote the Rotary grant application for digging Oltorotua’s wells, told me #1 is absolutely true.



Ten off-beat facts science says about water — from Elsevier research journals:

  1. You can get ‘drunk’ on water!  Water intoxication (WI) 1, caused by over-consumption of water, can be lethal. This condition is usually seen in patients with psychiatric disorders, victims of child abuse or torture, drug abusers or it can be iatrogenically induced (result from a physician’s words or actions).  Perhaps one of the most renowned fatal cases was the January 2007 death of 28-year-old Jennifer Strange, who competed in a radio station’s contest to see how much water she could drink without going to the bathroom.  Strange was found dead in her home in Sacramento, California, just hours after taking part in the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest in which a radio station promised to present the winner with a Nintendo Wii video game system, according to news reports. The official cause of death was “acute water intoxication.”
  2. Drinking cold water can increase your sweet tooth. A study has shown that if you drink iced water before eating chocolate you don’t find it as sweet, creamy or chocolaty as people who skip a cold drink. The authors suggest these findings may help to explain why North American people, who are more used to drinking iced water, show a strong preference for more highly sweetened foods.3
  3. Breastfeeding moms should drink more water. As 87% of milk is comprised of water, it is important that breastfeeding women keep their fluid levels high. The National Research Council recommends fluid intake of 2,200 mL (9 c) per day for the average female.  A breastfeeding mother should drink an extra 750 to 1,000 mL/ day, an increase of at least 34%. 4
  4. Water exercise can reduce breast cancer fatigue: Sufferers of cancer-related fatigue (CRF) experience tiredness or exhaustion that is not caused by activity. In a trial, breast cancer survivors were randomly assigned to either an experimental group (aquatic exercise group in deep water pool) or a control group (usual care). The water exercise group experienced improvements in cancer-related fatigue and strength.
  5. Water Wars.  People have been fighting over water for centuries.  One of the first “water wars” ever documented was fought between the Mesopotamian city-states of Lagash and Umma more than 4,500 years ago, because of a dispute over a canal and its use to irrigate fields that produced staple crops for the two city-states.6
  6. Problems with kidney stonesHippocrates had the answer.  Back in 490BC, Hippocrates would recommend large intakes of water to increase urine output and reduce the risk of urinary tract stones. Today, approximately 12% to 15% of the general population will form a kidney stone at some time. Many factors can lead to the development of these stones but, of these, diet -especially fluid intake – is the only one that can be easily changed and that has a marked effect on all risk factors.4
  7. Does drinking eight glasses a day keeps your skin hydrated?  The popular view is that drinking six to eight glasses of water each day will keep your skin hydrated, help it look healthier, and reduce your risk of wrinkles. This paper concludes that the only certainty about this issue is that there isn’t enough scientific evidence available to support this hypothesis. The authors recommend further scientific research.7
  8. Is the contraceptive pill responsible for raising the estrogen levels in water?  Research studies conclude that birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptive methods are not the primary reason for estrogenic compounds found in our environment; it is more likely to come from other sources such as synthetic estrogens in crop fertilizer, hormones fed to livestock and industrial chemicals.
  9. North America and Japan are the largest per capita consumers of water in the world:   Daily per capita  in North American and Japan is 350 Liters, as compared to 200 liters in Europe and a mere 10-20 Liters in sub-Saharan Africa. 9
  10. Water for food production:   Average quantity of water needed to produce 1 kg of: wheat — 1,500 Liters; beef:  13,000 Liters and rice: 2,000 Liters. 9


  1. Forensic aspects of water intoxication: Four case reports and review of relevant literature, Radojevic N, Bjelogrlic B, Aleksic V, Rancic N, Samardzic M, Petkovic S, Savic S, Forensic Science International, Volume 220, Issues 1–3, 10 July 2012, Pages 1–5
  2. Payout over water-drinking death, BBC News, 30 October 2009
  3. Temperature of served water can modulate sensory perception and acceptance of foodMony P, Tokar T, Pang P, Fiegel A, Meullenet J-F, Seo H-S, Food Quality and Preference Volume 28, Issue 2, June 2013, Pages 449–455.
  4. Water: An Essential But Overlooked NutrientKleiner S M, Journal of the American Dietetic AssociationVolume 99, Issue 2, February 1999, Pages 200–206.   
  5. The Effectiveness of a Deep Water Aquatic Exercise Program in Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled TrialCantarero-Villanueva I, Fernández-Lao C,Cuesta-Vargas A I, Del Moral-Avila R, Fernández-de-las-Peñas C, Arroyo-Morales M,  Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 94, Issue 2, February 2013, Pages 221–230
  6. The Water and Food Nexus: Trends and Development of the Research Landscape.   (Cooper,J.S. 1983) 
  7. Nutrition and water: drinking eight glasses of water a day ensures proper skin hydration—myth or reality? Wolf R, Wolf D, Rudikoff D, Parish L C, Clinics in DermatologyVolume 28, Issue 4, July–August 2010, Pages 380–383.  
  8. Birth control hormones in water: separating myth from fact, Moore K, McGuire K I, Contraception, Volume 84, Issue 2, August 2011, Pages 115–118. 
  9. Scopus; World Water Council; UNICEF/WHO.



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