Few problems have the ability to directly affect every person on the planet. Most of what you’ll see on television or read in the news relates to local or regional issues. Sometimes we give it a thought, but other times we’ll just click to the next channel.
There are some issues, though, that prove able to touch every person on the planet in some way. If not now, they will be able to eventually, and soon everyone will be focused on how to fix the situation. Water scarcity is one of those problems – and while some in the United States don’t currently feel the pressure of water, many do – along with billions of others throughout the world.
Facts About Water Scarcity
Water scarcity is a problem of water availability. According to Global Issues, some 1.1 billion people lack just basic access to clean water supplies – that’s about 1 in 7 people. This is somewhat dwarfed by the fact that another 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation, leading to premature death and suffering. Most of these problems are directly tied to the inability of people to acquire clean, healthy sources of water. This leads to devastating consequences – see Water.org for a full list:
- 3.575 million people die each year from water-related diseases, taking a child every 20 seconds.
- For example, diarrhea, which is partially caused by unsanitary water, takes 1.4 million children a year.
- Just 62 percent of the world’s population has access to a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact.
- The lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection
- It is also cause for loss of productivity and economic growth. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a $1 investment “estimates returns of $3 – $34, depending on the region and technology”
For anyone that thinks water scarcity is an isolated event, think again. The ability of water scarcity to affect so many speaks to its ability to effect us all. As we see, it also promotes systemic fragility – with people’s health, well being, and commerce on the line. It can even take on subtler effects for a nation – just look toward the droughts faced in California and Texas. These desperate water situations can easy spell disaster for millions if something wrong where to happen, but even know they cost the states millions of dollars.
Solutions for the Future
There have been solution discussed, though. In addition to conserving our own sources of water, investing and donating in causes that help deliver and sustain healthy water supplies is essential. As detailed by Water.org, one can get involved on both a local and global level to help battle the nonavailability of water. Through efforts on our part, we can start to make a difference in hundreds, thousands, and possible millions of lives.
Let’s each help fight water scarcity before it comes knocking on our own doors.