Its midday and safe to say that between your morning rituals of showering and coffee guzzling and the food preparation going into lunch, you’ve already consumed more than what 768 million people will struggle to access throughout the entire day – clean water.
By nightfall, as an average American you will have consumed more than 450 liters, or 118 gallons of water, in the home alone.
Today is World Water Day, a United Nations initiative designed to both remind the world each year about our inadequate global water supply and to celebrate the achievements made in water security and sanitation.
And while there is much to be celebrated as statistics represent decreases in water-related deaths, the numbers concerning the crisis are still staggering. In comparison to U.S. daily consumption of 118 gallons of water (as mentioned above), those in developing countries can barely find five.
On top of it, those five gallons are barely drinkable, swimming with bacteria and diseases that cause staggering death rates just from trying to stay hydrated and clean. . One child dies every 21 seconds from a water-related disease.
Here’s what you need to know:
- 768 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water. That’s 1 in 9 of us.
- The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns. (World Health Organization)
- In developing countries, about 80 percent of illnesses can be linked to poor water conditions that led to a lack of proper sanitation. (United Nations)
- Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under five, more than malaria, AIDS and measles combined. Diarrhea is most commonly caused by improper hygiene. (water.org)
- More people have a mobile phone than access to a toilet.
- 12% lack access to water, 54% lack access to sanitation and safe, drinkable water, 50.6% live below poverty line.
- In Bolivia nearly one out of every ten children will die before the age of five. Most of those deaths are related to illnesses that come from a lack of clean drinking water. (Jim Schultz, founder of the Democracy Center in Bolivia, FLOW.)
- Almost five million Bolivians lack access to sewage systems and fecal waste disposal. (Refresh Bolivia)
- Diarrhea causes 36% of deaths in children under 5 in Bolivia. Studies show that provision of potable water and sanitation facilities can reduce deaths from diarrhea by 65% and overall childhood mortality by 55%.
What You Can Do
There are countless organizations worldwide that provide aid to our global water crisis, it’s time for you to get involved.
This organization empowers communities to maintain their own clean water sources by providing impoverished rural families access to water filters and the training needed to allow Bolivians to tap into any water source and drink clean, purified water for years. These filters are needed more than ever as 60,000 Bolivians suffering recent floods have lost their homes, crops, livestock, and livelihoods.
Donate a filter or contribute to fundraising efforts here.
Water for People
This Colorado based, international nonprofit has operations in 10 countries, including Bolivia, and improves access to water with drilling projects, sanitation infrastructures and other water systems. Much of their work is completed through volunteer work in the field as part of their World Water Corps program and other various project sponsorships.
Find out how you can get involved or donate to the cause here.
People Water (Drop4Drop), Charity:Water, and Water.org also target the global water crisis by providing eco-friendly, non-leaking water bottles, well drilling, long-lasting sanitation services, family sponsorships and more. Check out their work and see how you can support those in need.
And it doesn’t end with donations! Be mindful of the water you consume letting minimal amounts of this precious resource go to waste. Educate yourself and others by spreading the word of this epidemic and know the facts. Seek out videos and documentaries (such as Flow and Water Wars), and seek out the voices of the affected.
Cheers to water and its healing power!