By Terry Orr
Most of us in America have never had to worry about drinkable water or dealt with water rationing. When we travel, often we are told - “Don’t drink the water” as it is really not safe for our consumption. Yet there a literally hundreds of millions of people who are faced with this problem every day of their lives.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Culture Organization (USESCO) has an excellent brochure available for viewing and downloading (see link below). I highly recommend reading this brochure and pass it along to others.
Why Is World Water Day Important?
- 780 million people—almost entirely the poorest and most marginalized in the world—live without access to safe drinking water. 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation (a pit latrine or better); that’s 40% of the world’s population.
- Lack of access to WASH contributes to two of the three leading killers of children under five years old in the world. These diseases are pneumonia, which could be prevented by good handwashing and better hygiene; and diarrhea, which comes from drinking unsafe water and lack of sanitation around the world. With good quality water, sanitation and hygiene, many children’s lives could be saved.
- Up to 40 billion working hours are lost every year to water collection, mostly by women and girls who must walk long distances, sometimes in dangerous circumstances, to collect water. This, combined with water-borne diseases keeping people from school and work, costs countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia 5-6% of their Gross Domestic Products each year. This is a significant blow to economic growth and global financial stability.
The fulfilment of basic human needs, our environment, socio-economic development and poverty reduction are all heavily dependent on water.
Good management of water is especially challenging due to some of its unique characteristics: it is unevenly distributed in time and space, the hydrological cycle is highly complex and perturbations have multiple effects. Rapid urbanization, pollution and climate change threaten the resource while demands for water are increasing in order to satisfy the needs of a growing world population, now at over seven billion people, for food production, energy, industrial and domestic uses. Water is a shared resource and its management needs to take into account a wide variety of conflicting interests. This provides opportunities for cooperation among users.
Promoting water cooperation implies an interdisciplinary approach bringing in cultural, educational and scientific factors, as well as religious, ethical, social, political, legal, institutional and economic dimensions. (Source: UNWATER.ORG)
References and Links:
(All images from Google)