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Water Wisdom: A Deep Dive into WildFires and Water

You might be aware of the 10+ acre wildfires in California, which caused destruction. These wildfires destroy trees, wildlife, vegetation, and infrastructure. Water shortage on the surface arises these situations during the dry period.

If we want to eliminate this situation and protect the wildlife and us, we need to conserve water. That’s why I host the Water Wisdom: A Deep Dive into Wildfires and Water podcast, in which you acknowledge the impacts of climate change on our water supply, wildfires, and weather. Also, you will learn strategies to preserve water and reduce water waste.

Let’s start the journey with guest Dr. Faith Kearns, who writes about, works on, and talks about water, wildfire, and climate change issues. Her work also has been published in the New Republic, On Being, Bay Nature, and more.

What is Science Communication?

Science communication involves communicating scientific ideas, methods, knowledge, and research to non-experts people. Experts here share their knowledge and research. This type of communication helps raise awareness and inform the public about what happens in our environment, the effects of climate change, and other scientific worlds.

For example, the COVID-19 pandemic is considered as the science communication.

Thinking about What is Climate Communication.

Climate communication focuses on climate change's causes, effects, and nature. Its main goal is to educate, inform, and persuade people to take action against climate change.

Like the Water Wisdom Podcast, where Dr. Faith Kearns, a scientist and science communication practitioner, talks about water, wildfire, and climate change issues in the southwestern United States.

Faith kearns website

Here, she discussed the interconnectedness of water conservation and wildfires and the effects of climate change.

Are you curious to explore more about how to communicate about climate change or think about how water conservation, drought, and wildfires are connected? Let's check out together!

How are Water Conservation, Drought, and Wildfires Connected?

Water conservation, drought, and wildfires - everything is interconnected. The landscape will dry out When we lack water, precipitation, rain, or snow. That's why it makes the vegetation much more flammable in the dry periods. Also, we notice a lot of wildfires both in California and in Arizona and lots of places throughout the West.

It's hard to know where to start. All of these things are super interconnected. But if we start with just thinking about water, when we have a lack of water, precipitation, rain, or snow, it tends to dry out the landscape.

Climate change is heating things, both in terms of average temperatures going up and extreme heat waves happening much more frequently. Because of extreme wildfires can also affect water and water quality.

In a summary of watersheds and wildfires:

  • Watersheds (surface water & groundwater) rely on a range of plants and organisms. Healthy soils help filter water, break down organic material, and dissolve harmful compounds.

  • Wildfires disrupt groundwater storage. High-intensity fires remove vegetation and roots and produce runoff. And soil is less able to absorb or filter water after a fire.

  • And the climate change increases the risk of drought. Western forests are now roughly 50% drier due to climate change.

You can check out the NASA Data, which reveals how drought affects the recovery of western ecosystems from fire.

Importance of Water for Humans and Agriculture

Water is life; it makes up a majority of our body, 80% of water, and is involved in many important body functions. The percentage indicates the existential basic issue that we need water to live and keep our bodies in a particular temperature zone.

Like the human body, food security and agricultural output both depend on water. One research states that irrigation agriculture uses 20% of all farmed areas, which produces 40% of the world’s food.

For more details, I have highlighted the critical importance of water in both humans and agriculture below:

Water for Agriculture

Water for agriculture

  • As a natural resource, water makes up around 90% of all plant development and blooming and produces flowers, fruits, and seeds.

  • Water is essential to protect crops from heat and dryness, maintain soil moisture, and more.

  • Soil moisture management is critical to plant growth.

  • Water is used as a medium for pesticide and fertilizer applications.

  • Aquaculture (fish and other aquatic organisms) fully depend on water for animal habitat, feeding, and waste management.

  • Water is essential for domestic animals to maintain their livestock production.

Where Does Agricultural Water Come From?

Agricultural water comes from different sources, including:

  • Surface water: Rivers, streams, and irrigation ditches

  • Open canals

  • Impounded water such as ponds, reservoirs, and lakes

  • Groundwater from wells

  • Rainwater: Locally collected such as rain barrels and cisterns

Water for Human

Water for human

  • Water helps to keep a normal temperature.

  • Lubricate and cushion joints.

  • Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues.

  • Get rid of waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.

  • Water helps dissolve vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from your food.

  • Water improves blood oxygen circulation to your entire body.

  • With water, you can prevent overall dehydration, like kidney failure, seizures, etc.

However, you might be aware of the COVID-19 pandemic; even the world will never forget its impact. Adequate sanitation and hygiene are key to protecting human health during this infectious disease outbreak. Frequent handwashing and maintaining hygiene standards require a continuous supply of safe water.

Creative Solutions to Address Drought and Water Conservation

Climate change affects the water cycle, resulting in frequent droughts, floods, and wildfires. The creative solutions to overcome these challenges and meet the growing demand for water are highlighted below:

1. Rainwater Harvesting

An ancient technique involves collecting and storing rainwater from rooftops and other surfaces for further use. The stored water can be used in irrigation, washing, and many more. However, rainwater harvesting reduces the demand for municipal water supplies and helps to alleviate the pressure on groundwater reserves.

2. Drip Irrigation

With drip irrigation, the farmer achieves optimum plant water delivery and makes soil moisture. The system prevents water wastage. The technologically advanced farms support drip irrigation systems, which require no human intervention and ensure each plant gets the right amount of water on its roots.

3. Desalination

The process removes salt and other minerals from seawater, making it suitable for human consumption and other uses. Though it is expensive and energy-intensive, the advanced technology makes this process more cost-effective and efficient. With this desalination process, you get a reliable source of fresh water, which helps reduce the pressure on existing water supplies.

4. Aquifer Recharge

It involves replenishing groundwater reserves, typically through the use of wells, injection wells, and infiltration basins. The aquifer recharge is helpful to reduce the risk of water shortages during dry seasons. It improves water quality by reducing the concentration of contaminants in groundwater.

5. Recycle Water/Water Reuse

Water reuse or recycling indicates treating and using wastewater for different purposes, like irrigation, industrial processes, environment restoration, and more. The process helps reduce the demand for fresh water and conserve water resources.

Do you want to explore the steps to make it safe for drinking?

To purify recycled water and meet the drinking water standard, the wastewater is filtered and passed through several processes, like:

  • Membrane filtration,

  • Reverse osmosis, and

  • Ultraviolet advanced oxidation.

Water Wisdom: How can Individuals Promote Water Conservation Locally?

Water is a precious resource of mother nature which makes our planet green and more importantly habitable. Without water, we can’t imagine our existence. So, to conserve water for sustainable living, we need to take a few steps, such as:

  • Turn off the water tap when brushing the teeth or not in use.

  • Use energy-efficient and water-saving devices.

  • Use drip irrigation to water your garden plants.

  • Reuse water for landscape gardens.

  • Run the washing machine and dishwasher when you have a full load.

  • Avoid overwatering your lawn or garden.

  • Install rain sensors on irrigation systems.

  • Share knowledge about water use and conservation.

Also, the school guide can include how much water we need to use. These water-saving hacks can have a big impact on water demand in local communities.

Wrap Up

Now, at the end of the Water Wisdom: A Deep Dive into Wildfires and Water podcast, I hope you get enough resources to conserve water to gift a beautiful and green nature to the future generation.

The episode covered the effects of climate change, the concept of "Eco emotions," and how to communicate about climate change effectively with the Award-winning author of Getting to the Heart of Science Communication, Dr. Kearns.

See you soon with another exciting climate change episode!

Stay Tuned!

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