It’s World Water Day today. It is a day for conversation, learning, and meditation on the problems around the world’s water supplies. One of the UN’s sustainable development goals is to see all people having access to clean water by 2030. Today we can often take clean water for granted when it is so readily available but around the world this isn’t always the case. Water management is becoming increasingly important in the face of climate change and while there are steps we as individuals can take, industries such as fashion need to take more responsibility for their water usage.
The fashion industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to water consumption and pollution. A 2017 report from Global Fashion Agenda and Boston Consulting Group found that in 2015 alone the fashion industry consumed 79 billion cubic litres of water. When a T-shirt can require 2720 litres of water to produce, it can add up. Heavy metals used in the production of denim can pollute water supplies, compounding the problems that stem from already high usage.
There are people out there doing things differently though, showing that a more responsible relationship with water is not only possible but preferable. Swedish Stockings are constantly researching ways to improve their water usage and right now they clean the water used for their colouring process so that it can be used again and again. Innovation is key to developing more sustainable practices with regards to water.
Alongside innovate ways of producing our clothes, some fabrics naturally use less water in their production than others. Linen comes from the flax plant which naturally uses less water in production than your typical cotton plant. It requires less land and it generally a hardier crop, growing just fine in lower quality soils. This makes it a sustainability dream, offering economical use of land and resources.
Organic cotton also uses less water than inorganic cotton production while also removing the chemicals used. This is great as it stops these chemicals leaking into the water table and polluting our sources of water.
Water is life. It’s what made the earth into a home for every living thing. We must be thankful for it and look to enable water access through both responsible climate change management and a shift in the way water is used around the globe. This World Water Day lets make sure we remember that water is not infinite. Let’s remember there’s still a long way to go.