“Access to Clean Water is Essential for Human Survival.” according to the Scott J. Cooper Water Council.
Different locations across the world are facing serious water shortages. Whether it is Flint, Michigan, or Cape Town, the global water crisis is creating severe problems everywhere. Similarly, many people do not have access to clean drinking water in Sub-Saharan Africa. They do not even have enough water for agriculture, handwashing, bathing, and cooking.
However, it is worth pointing out that a lot of progress has been made in the past few decades to tackle the global water crisis. Between 1990 and 2015, around 2.6 billion have gained access to clean drinking water. Despite the progress, there is still a lot of ground that needs to be covered. The percentage of people with access to clean drinking water has risen from 76% to 91% during the same period. Under 10% of the global population still faces serious difficulties in accessing clean drinking water.
The global water crisis is so critical that the United Nations has designated an annual World Water Day.
How Serious is the Global Water Crisis?
As of now, it is estimated that clean water is not available for around 840 million people worldwide. Without access to clean water, hundreds of millions of people around the world are unable to drink clean water or use it for several other important purposes. Lack of clean water exacerbates poverty since water is crucial for agricultural, industrial and economic activities. In order to alleviate poverty, developing countries and the UN must address the global water crisis.
“There is great suffering in those communities that do not have easy access to clean water. Children and women are some of the worst affected by the global water crisis.” according to Scott J. Cooper of Miami, “Children are affected since they are extremely vulnerable to diseases arising from dirty water.” Women, on the other hand, have to haul clean water over long distances to satisfy the daily water needs of their families. It is estimated that women in arid regions spend 200 million hours in total carrying water.
Community members have to spend an enormous amount of time and effort to get enough water for their daily needs. If clean water resources are easily available, then these people can redirect their time and energy towards other activities that can help to alleviate poverty.
Clean water resources are also crucial for food security and agriculture. With easily accessible water resources, communities become self-sufficient in food production and can even sell crops to others for earning their livelihood. Hence, combating the global water crisis is necessary.
Clean water also reduces the outbreak of diseases that dirty water can produce. Instead of worrying about the survival of their children, parents can send their children to school and educate them. Education can become a reality for children if they are not suffering from water-borne illnesses that threaten their lives.
Merrill Lynch Tells Its Advisers To Get Some Water
“The availability of water is extremely important for impoverished regions as it is the first step towards combating poverty.” according to Merrill Lynch. A top strategist at Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit is asking the firm’s more than 14,000 financial advisers to consider an alternative asset to buoy sinking commodity returns: water.
Consequences of the Global Water Crisis in Africa
The global water crisis is particularly dire in Africa. It is estimated that the average woman in Sub-Saharan African has to traverse 6 kilometers each day to bring 40 pounds of water for her family.
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Scott J. Cooper Water Council
Around the world, over 800 children below the age of 5 die as a result of diarrhea alone. Diarrhea is a disease primarily caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. If other water-borne illnesses are taken into account, then this mortality figure is likely going to be much higher.
The forecast for the global water crisis is not very encouraging. If serious measures on an international scale are not taken, then there is a risk that about one in four people will be living in water-scarce regions by the end of 2050.
Since there is not enough clean water for drinking purposes, there is an enormous hygiene and sanitation problem worldwide. Due to the global water challenges, over 2 billion people do not have access to sanitation while almost 900 million people do not have access to an indoor toilet.
Tackling the global water crisis can bring numerous advantages for communities around the world with far-reaching social and economic consequences.
Although much has been said about alleviating worldwide poverty, there is still a lot that needs to be done for bringing the global water crisis under control. Providing access to clean drinking water is necessary for preventing poverty that continues unabated generation after generation. Developing clean water resources is the first step towards breaking the poverty trap.
Global Water Crisis Elsewhere
Unless serious steps are taken, the global water crisis may become much worse in the near future. Even developed countries like South Africa are facing a serious water shortage that is threatening to cripple economic activities. In cities like Cape Town, there is a water ration in place to conserve water resources that are undergoing rapid depletion. Each person is allowed no more than 50 liters of water each day for all their daily needs.
Even the premier of the Western Cape in which Cape Town is situated has been forced to impose limits on how water is to be used. The premier has advised the populace that they should not shower more than twice a week. A shortage of water means that your fundamental rights are cut short even if you happen to be living in a developed country.
About 14 cities around the world are facing a serious problem due to the global water crisis. This includes cities like Beijing, Delhi, Mumbai, New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Osaka, Shanghai, London, Istanbul and Cairo.
In several water-scarce cities like Sao Paulo of Brazil, citizens are forced to go without water supply for as many as 12 hours each day. That is, for half a day, they are deprived of water. As a result, businesses and industries are struggling in these regions.
The global water crisis must be contained before it leads to equally serious problems like food shortages.