Global Water Crisis
Lack access to clean water
“1 out of 8 people in the world do not have access to clean water.”(1)
Aguayuda’s mission is to improve life and health in poor rural communities through clean water and education. We have chosen clean water as our main focus because it affects many people in countries all over the world. When there is limited or no access to clean water in a community, many problems exist, that can make it extremely difficult for a community to grow, to prosper and to be healthy. Some issues related to the lack of clean water include:
“Approximately 40% of the global population does not have access to basic sanitation.”(1)
Where there is little or no water, sanitation is a huge problem. Clean water is essential to sanitation because it is required to practice proper hygiene, to prepare and cook food and to clean the home and the community. Access to water also supplements latrines and wastewater systems to minimize health risks.
“More children die from the lack of access to clean water than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.”(2)
Children are most vulnerable to water-related diseases because their immune systems are not strong enough to defend diseases such as diarrhea. One of the most common water-related illnesses is diarrhea. Contaminated water can both cause this illness as well as prevent proper treatment for the resulting dehydration. Affecting both children and adults, these illnesses negatively affect communities’ well-being and ultimately hinder the locals’ productivity at work, school and at home.
“In just one day, approximately 200 million hours of women’s time is spent collecting water for their families.”(1)
Typically, the arduous task of fetching water is assigned to the children and women in the household. They have to walk on average 5km and carry heavy water containers from the water source to their home. Unfortunately, the majority of these water sources, such as dirty wells, rivers, and lakes, are contaminated and unsafe for human consumption. Therefore, not only does it require time and energy to collect water, this water also makes the family sick. The women play a key role in the family with many responsibilities, which then become increasingly difficult to fulfill when they are sick.
“10 to 15 million households in Latin America live in substandard housing. In addition, a lack of infrastructure and basic services like water supply, wastewater treatment and waste collection are prevalent. Families and individuals with inadequate housing are more likely to earn less income, thus resulting in a never ending cycle of poverty.”(3)
Generally, if a community does not have access to clean water; it is a strong indication that the rest of the infrastructure, such as an electrical grid, wastewater treatment, waste collection, accessible roads, and adequate schools, are similarly not well established. Water is the catalyst to many essential components in a community. Without clean water, the risk of poor health, limited education and poverty are extremely high. Unfortunately, due to many factors including population growth, industrial use and urbanization, the water crisis is growing at an alarming rate.
“By 2025, 2.8 billion people will face water issues.”(2)
The water crisis in the world is one of the most challenging and important problems that we need to solve as soon as possible. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to overcome.