Canadian Rivers Day – Water and Your Health
If you didn’t know, June 14 is Canadian Rivers Day! To commemorate this day, here are some thoughts on the many ways water is important to your health:
Water is essential to all known forms of life.
In humans, water delivers oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body, and removes toxins and waste from the body. Water also regulates body temperature through perspiration and reduces friction between joints to facilitate movement.
We can survive without food for many days, but we can only survive a few days without water!
Experts disagree about the exact recommended intake of water, but most put it at about 2-2.5 liters a day. It takes an average of eight to ten cups to replenish the water our bodies lose each day. In addition to drinking glasses of water, you also ingest a certain amount through foods that contain water.
Most of the world’s cities live near and depend on rivers, lakes and other bodies of water.
They are critical sources of drinking water, and play essential roles in industry, including power generation, food processing, and agriculture.
In Canada and parts of the United States, spending time on or near water is a cherished way of life, a part of our identity for generations. Swimming, boating, fishing and relaxing at the cottage – these are just some of the activities we enjoy on our lakes and rivers.
Balanced, healthy ecosystems, including freshwater rivers and lakes, perform many amazing services that cannot be replicated – and that we depend on for survival.
- moderate weather extremes and their impacts
- disperse seeds
- mitigate drought and floods
- protect people from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays
- protect stream and river channels and coastal shores from erosion
- control agricultural pests
- maintain biodiversity
- preserve soils and renew their fertility
- purify the air and water
- regulate disease carrying organisms
- pollinate crops and natural vegetation
The way we treat our water resources can have an effect on healthy ecosystems:
- runoff of pesticides, fertilizers, and animal wastes
- pollution of land, water, and air resources
- introduction of non-native species
- overharvesting of fisheries
- destruction of wetlands
These services are so fundamental to life that they are easy to take for granted, but remember, they are far beyond the ability of human technology to replicate. We depend on healthy water resources!