Nothing is more essential to life on earth than water. Yet, there’s a global water crisis in all corners of the globe. From rural farms in Africa to Asia’s teeming cities, people struggle to access the clean water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing, hygiene, and growing food.
Although water covers 70 percent of our planet, fresh water is scarce. Only three percent of the world’s water is freshwater, and two-thirds of it remains untouched and inaccessible in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable for our use. Without accessible, affordable, clean water, millions of preventable deaths occur, and families and entire countries are poverty-stricken for generations.
More than one billion people lack access to safe water, and more than four billion people find water scarce for at least one month each year. Inadequate sanitation is also a contributing factor, exposing them to multiple water-borne diseases, like typhoid fever and cholera. Each year, two million people die from diarrheal diseases alone.
Water Crisis Causes
The causes of water scarcity are multiple and complex. However, many experts predict that the situation will worsen at the current consumption rate. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages. And ecosystems around the world will suffer even more.
Multiple things are responsible for water pollution, including pesticides and fertilizers that wash away from farms, untreated human wastewater, and industrial waste. Even groundwater is not safe from pollution because many pollutants can leach into underground aquifers.
The effect can be immediate, such as harmful bacteria from human waste contaminating it, making it unfit for drinking or recreational fun, like swimming. However, some pollutants can also take years to build and affect the environment and food chain
Agriculture uses 70 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater. But unfortunately, leaky irrigation systems, inefficient application methods, and cultivating thirsty crops waste as much as 60 percent.
Wasting water due to these inefficiencies causes rivers, lakes, and underground aquifers to dry out. As a result, many countries that produce large quantities of food have reached or are close to reaching their water resource limits.
Agriculture also generates considerable amounts of pollution through fertilizers and pesticides.
The human population has more than doubled in the past 50 years. The population growth creates a need to feed, house, and clothe more people, requiring increased production of commodities and energy, which adds additional pressure to an already strained freshwater supply. With its accompanying economic development and industrialization, this rapid growth has transformed water ecosystems worldwide and resulted in a massive biodiversity loss.
Poor Water Infrastructure
It’s not enough to have enough water; the water needs to be transported, treated, and distributed. Unfortunately, in many instances, water infrastructure―treatment plants, pipes, and sewer systems―are non-existent or in a state of disrepair. Years of underfunding continue to put many parts of the world in jeopardy. In addition, poor regions often don’t have the funds or education required to implement water infrastructures, like waste treatment and recycling.
It’s Not Too Late
There is good news: governments, businesses, universities, citizens, and organizations like Thirst Relief International are committed to solving the global water challenges. However, your help is needed to implement solutions.
While many solutions will require vast amounts of money and time, affordable, viable solutions can be implemented to bring relief. For example, for as little as $100, a biosand filter can change the life of a family or community for thirty years or more!
The Thirst Relief team and its partners work with residents to ensure that everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. Your support delivers clean water solutions where it’s needed most and helps alleviate the global water crisis.
Every dollar donated helps keep children healthy and safe, lifts families from poverty, and provides employment opportunities.