Water: Raise Awareness
More than 1 billion people have no access to clean and safe drinking water while over 2 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. "Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans" - Jacques Cousteau
What's at stake?
What do you think is the most important thing in your life? Much like the air we breathe every day, many people take clean water for granted and never think about how much we all depend on it for drinking, agriculture, sanitation, and hygiene.
According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), more than 1 billion people – about one in six people in this world – have no access to clean and safe drinking water while over 2 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. The effects of unclean water often lead to an endless cycle of poverty, conflict, disease and death.
If we continue to follow the current trend, by the year 2025 two thirds of the people in this world will not have sufficient access to clean water.
At any moment, almost half the population in developing countries is suffering from a disease linked to lack of clean water and sanitation. Women and children are most affected.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 1.8 million children die every year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. That’s one death every eight seconds. Not only that but women and children around the world walk a total of 200 million hours every day for water that often comes from a polluted source. The time spent fetching water often prevents them from earning a living or going to school.
Though industrialized countries have done the most to bring about global climate change, it is developing nations that will suffer most as they lack the finances and resources to quickly and efficiently cope with and adapt to the changing climate.
To make matters worse, climate change will also prevent these developing nations from achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The world's most vulnerable people will have their already insufficient access to drinkable water further reduced. Food security will be even more limited. Reduced food and water security will lead to poor health, while conflicts are more likely to occur and continue as people compete for the limited natural resources necessary to their survival.
The first step to solving the water crisis is to promote and enforce the right to safe, clean water for every individual. In particular, securing women’s rights is crucial because women are both the ones most affected by the water crisis as well as the ones who are often leading the fight for safe water in their communities. Providing an integrated and long-term approach of water, sanitation and hygiene helps people take the first step out of the cycle of poverty and disease.
Mercy Corps has projects around the world that fulfill the water needs of vulnerable populations, from creating pipes to provide drinking water to rural communities to solving resource-based conflicts to ensuring that people have access to drinking water in the most devastating emergencies.
Global Map of Water
The Pulitzer Gateway
A Dollar a Day: Finding Solutions to Global Poverty
WaterAid Water Partners International
World Water Day
End Water Poverty