The significance of water to Māori
Wai (water) is sacred to Māori and has many different uses. Different types of water are known as momowai. Wai comes from Papatūānuku and Rangi-nui. Wai has its own mauri/life force and spirit. Wai gives people life and food.
Different countries use different amounts of water. We all use water in a similar way. The way people use freshwater can be divided into three groups:
As the number of people in the world grows, we need to grow more food. To make food, we need water. Many places around the world need extra water because they do not get enough rainfall to grow food. Farmers get it by pumping water from lakes, rivers and underground aquifers to farmland. This water is known as irrigation and is one of the most important uses of freshwater.
Industries use freshwater to produce things like metals, wood, paper products, chemicals, petrol and oil. For example, it takes about 50,000 litres of water to make a car and about 200 litres to make one newspaper. Water can also be used to make electricity.
Households use freshwater for things like drinking, cooking, cleaning, and watering the garden.
If we all use water wisely, we can make sure that there is enough for everyone.
Growing demand for water
We now use fresh water for more things than ever before. This means that there is not always enough water in some parts of the world.
One in every eight people in the world does not have access to clean water. Often there is enough rainfall or other water sources but there is no way to get this water to the people who need it.
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