Some of us will never know how fortunate we are to have clean running water when we turn on the faucet. It is a luxury to be able to take long showers, brush our teeth, and wash our clothes whenever we want. For many people around the world, this is not the case. 1 out of 9 people lacks access to clean water. Water is essential to life, lacking water greatly impacts many people in this world. But the water crisis is more than just water, it is a combination of issues such as; women, health, education, and economic crisis.
Many people wonder why we seem to be running out of water when most of the earth is made of water. Even though there is an abundant amount of water on the planet earth, not all of it is safe to drink. As the demand for safe water increases, there is a concern about whether or not there is enough water to support the ever-growing population. This is known as the water crisis, “the deficiency of adequate water resources that can meet the water demands for a particular region.” This is a global issue, and it currently affects more than 800 million people across the world. Some parts of the world are definitely affected more than others. For instance, according to the World Resources Institute “Middle East and North Africa is the most water-stressed region on earth,” they experience hot dry weather so there isn’t much water to begin with. Along with that, there is a growing demand for water due to the increasing population. Freshwater is also not distributed evenly throughout the world, “more than half of the world’s water supply is contained in just nine countries.” While certain countries struggle to get the water they need daily.
There are currently “785 million people living without access to safe water.” The water crisis has an enormous effect on people’s health, without safe water to drink many people end up with diseases such as cholera, cryptosporidiosis, typhoid fever, and gastric flu. Most of these diseases are caused by consuming polluted water. “Nearly 1 million people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene-related diseases,” diseases that could easily be prevented by having constant access to clean water. Think about the everyday uses of water that we take for granted, from drinking to cooking. Water keeps us going through the day. What about every morning and night when we brush our teeth and wash our face, getting rid of the everyday germs that build up and latch on from around us. While some can only dream of this luxury, many people take it for granted.
Some of the people most affected by the water crisis are women and children. For children who have to take time to find clean water it “takes time away from school and play.” These children can not lead normal lives full of things that children should be doing such as playing and going to school. This is no way for a child to live retrieving water instead of enjoying childhood. Unable to get an education in order to advance in the world. This is especially a problem for girls and women. Because women “are often responsible for collecting water” they are “disproportionately affected by the water crisis.” Adding up the numbers, women spend about “226 million hours every day finding a place to go” get water. This does not allow girls to go to school or women to get jobs, keeping them trapped in the poverty cycle. The time that could be spent learning and working has to be spent worrying about having enough water to support a family. Women will be stuck in the place they are now until we resolve this problem.
Water scarcity has a grave effect on poverty, spending time searching for water prevents the ending of the poverty cycle. Many think poverty causes a lack of water but in fact, a lack of water is the cause of poverty. People are always too busy trying to survive that there is no room for anything else; creative things that could help them advance in society. We thrive knowing we don’t have to worry about whether or not water will run when we get home. They struggle waking up every morning wondering how they will provide for their family today.
What about all the other things water is used for, you need water to grow crops. Without water there now becomes a scarce food supply, another essential part of life feeding yourself and your family.
There are many ways to conserve and retrieve water, simple ways that we have been using for a long time. To fix the problem of water shortages, we need to address the reasons why water is scarce in some places. Currently “Middle East and nNorth Africa (MENA) is the most water-stressed region on earth” this area has 17 of the most water stressed countries. These desert areas pose challenges for people because it is difficult to easily access water, not only are they hot and dry but growing demands have caused more stress.
It takes dedicated people to make these solutions happen. As a species, we have to think about how the other half lives. For people around the world who do not have access to clean water, building wells is an easy way to retrieve groundwater. Scientists say the amount of “groundwater retraction has tripled in the past five decades because of industrial and agricultural uses.” This means due to factors such as agriculture We are able to go under and get water from aquifers by building wells. “Governments and organizations can undertake measures to recharge aquifers or groundwater by undertaking projects aimed at infiltrating or injecting excess surface water into the underground aquifers.” Aquifers are underground layers of water that we can easily use to get water, this means going underground to get safe drinkable water.
According to thewaterproject.org through the support of volunteers and donations they “invest in proven partners who are drilling freshwater wells“ along with providing sanitation and hygiene training. This is important because not only do they provide wells they teach the village how to keep the well operating for generations to come. Being educated on things like wells and sanitation will greatly improve the problems they are facing.
Another way to get clean water is through the process of desalination which is “already in operation throughout the world.” If we continue to to use this process we have a way to fulfil the water need of many. “Desalination plants — which remove salt from seawater to produce fresh water” this is perfect for an earth that is 75% saltwater. It’s the best way to use the Earth’s water supply.” Along with this process and others, we can work toward a world where we don’t have to worry about running out of water. Conservation of water is also important we need to realize the value of water and hold ourselves accountable.
There are many people who think this is not a problem that will affect them, because they have running water every time they turn on the faucet or because the purchase of a bottle of water is easily available to them. But water is not an unlimited resource and we are taking it for granted. The idea that just because something does not happen to you know or has not in the past will not protect from the fact that it could in the near future. Even in the US one of the richest countries in the world we have seen examples of water being cut off or contaminated. This crisis hits closer to home than most people think. In Flint, Michigan people have been dealing with unclean since 2014. In 2014 the decision to switch flint’s water source to flint river was made. But this destions was careless because water treatment was not taken into consideration. As a result lead latched and was in the water, and it took two years before they officially told people to stop drinking the water. As we see this is a problem that affects everyone, not just people in so called poorer countries but anyone who uses water. Meaning the entire earth population.
Everyone is at risk due to poor water management, industrial accidents, agricultural waste, and much more. The sooner we realize the importance and value of water we will understand the seriousness of this issue, the sooner we can take action. Solving the water crisis moves many people forward in the world, it helps societies advance their way out of poverty. It will lead to more educated people across the world. These changes will only happen if we start to care, we need to realize water is a necessity to life, not a commodity. Think about this the next time you buy a bottle of water or take a three-hour shower.