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International World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

While in some parts of the world, people survive on 5 gallons of water per day, the average Evanston resident uses 97 gallons per person per day. Evanston is fortunate to be located near the Lake Michigan, one of the world’s most valuable sources of fresh surface water. The Great Lakes contain 84% of North America’s surface fresh water and about 21% of the world’s supply.

Residents can reduce their water footprint by checking for leaks, installing a more efficient shower head, or limiting lawn and yard watering. In addition to your direct water use, the most effective way to reduce your water footprint is to follow a healthier, more sustainable diet and reduce food waste. Over 70% of the global fresh water withdrawals are for agricultural irrigation. For more information on World Water Day visit www.unwater.org/worldwaterday.

The City of Evanston is hosting a local celebration of water as our most precious resource by promoting National Drinking Water Week May 6 through May 12. Several activities are planned throughout the week and more information is available at www.cityofevanston.org/drinkingwaterweek. Now is the perfect time to pick up a copy of “Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It” and join the community discussion on May 6th 3:00 pm, Main Evanston Public Library. Call the Reader’s Services Desk at the Library, at 847/448-8620 to register and reserve your copy.

The community is also invited to cast their vote for the inaugural Drinking Water Week Art Contest for 3rd Grade Artists in Evanston. On-line voting will be available starting Friday, March 23, 2012 at www.cityofevanston.org/ndwwcontest (art already availble for viewing online).