Dirty water contains diseases such as cholera, E. Coli, orsalmonella that kill thousands each year. Water-borne diseasessuch as these, can cause diarrhoea or dysentery, which killsroughly 1.5 million children each year.

Women around the world have to walk an average of 3.7 mileseach day to collect water and can weigh around 20 kg. Womenare unable to gain education or employment due to having tocollect water and presents gender inequality. Women who haveto walk for water could also be in danger of getting attacked.

Around 443 million schools days are lost each year due tochildren being sick from preventable water related diseases.Whether from sickness or from the need to collect water,children who do not have access to clean water are unable toattend school to receive an education, and can struggle to gainemployment in later life.

Half of the world’s schools do not have toilets and 2.6 billionpeople do not have access to satisfactory facilities for sanitation.This lack of resources causes severe and deadly health riskswith exposed faecal matter containing deadly diseases. Morepeople have died from a lack of sanitation and clean water thanany war has ever killed.

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What is the World Water Crisis?

Around the world in developing nations, millions of men, women and children live their lives each day without access to clean water and satisfactory sanitation. Due to a lack of resources, these people have to collect the water they need for drinking, washing and cooking for sources that are often great distances from their homes. Not only that, but the natural sources of water are usually full of waste and bacteria. But what choice do they have? Humans need water to survive.

The world water crisis is inability for mass populations of the world to have access to the basic human right of clean water. It is a problem that can sometimes be a simple solution to solve. There are many filtration products that could make even the dirtiest water safe to drink. Many of these underdeveloped nations have vast qualities of natural water. The problem is reaching the millions of people who need help and providing them with the finances and resources to have clean water. Water is essential for life, and simply having access to it can have a massive effect on many other aspects of life.

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The Ripple Effect

Access to something as simple as clean water can have far reaching effects to an individual. Much like a drop in water, there emerge multiple growing changes from the simple addition of a drop of water.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Drop The core of the crisis is water, sanitation and hygiene. It is the change in these areas that is the drop that is needed to impact every area of life. Natural water comes from the land and needs to be cleaned before it can be used. Whether from a river, natural spring, underground reservoir, or even the sea, it is important to consider where the water has been. On it’s journey it may have come into contact with dirt, mud, faeces, bacteria, stagnation, and other factors that could make it unsafe to drink. By providing resources to allow water sources to become safe and closer to home, a whole vast range of problems can be solved.Furthermore, as well as making a change through providing resources to gain access to clean water, it is also important to manage sanitation and hygiene. Without hygienic human waste treatment, disease could easily spread through the water, air or through direct contact. By providing resources and training to individuals on simply washing hands and clearing waste, bacteria will have a harder change of infecting water, food and communities. Safe, clean supplies of water and organized treatment of human (and animal) waste can ensure the water system is effective and drinkable.

Health and Life

healthlife The first, and most vital, impact that clean water has to a person is the impact on health and life. Dirty, natural water is a high dangerous substance as they often contain bacteria such as Escherichia coli, vibrio cholerae, salmonella enterica, campylobacter jejuni and more. These bacteria cause dangerous and life threatening diseases such as gastroenteritis, neonatal meningitis, cholera, typhoid fever, salmonella infection, food poisoning and more. Many of these diseases cause horrible symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pains, fever and often result in dehydration. Many undeveloped nations do not have adequate health care and the masses of ill patients mean that many cannot be treated. This results in roughly 30,000 deaths each week around the world due to a lack of clean water.These diseases are especially hazardous for children, whose bodies have not developed an immune system strong enough to tackle these diseases. Around 1.5 million children under the age of five die from diarrhoea from dirty water, which is more deaths than major diseases such as measles, malaria and AIDS combined. It is horrific figures, but these figures can be changed and they have been! Due to international support, since 2009, almost 1,700 less children have died each day, due to improving access to clean water and sanitation.

Women and Gender Equality

Women It has also been seen that it often falls the responsibility of women and girls to collect the families’ water for the day. These journeys are often very long, very strenuous and involve carrying a jerry can weighting around 20kg. This duty prevents women and girls from developing, and prevents them from gaining an education or employment. By having water closer to home and clean to drink, women can work on making food or getting a job and helping support the family while girls can have the chance to get an education. By eliminating the long journeys for water, the world can evolve to see a society with more gender equality.

Education

education The world water crisis’s main victims are children. Having no choice but to collect and drink dirty water often leads to sickness. Children are then unable to attend schools or gain an education due to dealing with horrible water-related illnesses. This resulted in around 443 million school days being lost each year. By having access to clean water and sanitation, children would have the opportunity to attend schools and gain an education. Furthermore, with young girls no longer having to take strenuous journeys to collect far away water, they would also have the opportunity to attend schools.

Employment

employ The access to clean water has allowed children not to become ill and die from water-related diseases, it means women and girls do not have to walk far distances for water and means children are able to survive to attend school and gain an education. With more children learning trade skills, more adults will be able to gain skilled jobs for greater payment. Children who had received a full education shall have a wider selection of employment opportunities and shall be able to provide better for their families.

Economy

economy The final impact clean water has is to the economy. With more of the population having an education to take on higher paid and skilled jobs, the country is likely to see great economic development. With widespread access to clean water, the government will not have to invest in supporting as many sick and deprived individuals and will be able to invest in improving infrastructure and lifestyle. As the country develops, it would see greater foreign business investment, bringing in further finances and increasing the wealth and prosperity of the nation. Simply with the addition of a drop of water, a family in sub-Saharan Africa could go from a sick, unskilled, poor family to becoming a wealthy, educated, healthy family in a country that is growing and is reborn. Water is life and it can make a difference.

How we make a change?

It only takes one simply step, a drop of water, to make a change to the whole world. The Aqua Initiative’s aim is to help as many underprivileged individuals and communities around the world as possible by providing them with access to life’s most basic resource – water. Each community requires a very different approach depending on the sources of water available. For each project we choose a location, we choose a partner, and then we choose a method. Explore how we’ve helped others around the world by clicking below.

Pollock, Edward. “The Ripple Effect.” The Aqua Initiative. N.p., Aug. 2013. Web. (http://www.theaquainitiative.com/them)

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