I love water. I probably drink 70 oz of water a day, it is always refreshing, and my favorite water is straight from a hose. I haven't had to worry about getting sick from drinking contaminated water from the only muddy river nearby. But this is a reality for nearly half the world. And, if you consider that only 1% of the world's water is suitable for drinking and that the population is steadily increasing and the health of our environment continues to decline, the number of people without access to clean water may soon be rising.
In about six months, I will be heading to Sub-Saharan Africa and will most likely have to face this reality and will truly understand the impact of the global water crisis. In the meantime, I am proud to join the Blog Action Day movement to help people learn more about the importance of clean water. It is vital that we realize how lucky we are in the United States to have clean water and begin to take action towards helping those less fortunate.
Here is some information you should know:
- Water problems affect half of humanity.
- Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.
- Access to piped water into the household averages about 85% for the wealthiest 20% of the population, compared with 25% for the poorest 20%.
- 1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometre, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 litres per day. In the United Kingdom the average person uses more than 50 litres of water a day flushing toilets (where average daily water usage is about 150 liters a day. The highest average water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters day.)
- Some 1.8 million children die each year as a result of diarrhoea.
- Children lose 443 million school days each year from water-related illness.
- Close to half of all people in developing countries are suffering at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits.
- Millions of women spend several hours a day collecting water.
- To these human costs can be added the massive economic waste associated with the water and sanitation deficit. The costs associated with health spending, productivity losses, and labour diversions are greatest in some of the poorest countries. Sub-Saharan Africa loses about 5% of GDP, or some $28.4 billion annually, a figure that exceeds total aid flows and debt relief to the region in 2003.