The problem with clean water isn't necessarily if there is enough water, but rather if people have access to the water. Today there are nearly one billion people who lack access to safe water. (See our Water Tank Projects)
Around 700 million people in 43 countries suffer today from water scarcity. Water scarcity affects 1 in every 3 people on every continent of the globe. Imbalances between availability and demand, the degradation of groundwater and surface water quality, intersectoral competition, interregional and international conflicts all contribute to water scarcity. The situation is steadily getting worse as needs for water rise along with population growth, urbanization and increases in household and industrial water uses. Surprisingly a person in the U.S. taking a five minute shower uses more water than a single person in a developing country such as sub-saharan Africa uses in an entire day.
By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with water scarcity and two-thirds of the world's population could be living in water-stressed conditions. By 2030, half the world's population will be living in areas of high water scarcity if our climate changes persist. Water shortage in some arid and semi-arid lands will displace between 24 million and 700 million people.
Experts say regions that suffer from water stress serve as catalysts for the spread of disease. Water sanitization is vital. Consuming poor quality water can increase the risk of harmful conditions such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid fever or dysentery. Many of these conditions can easily be treated with antibiotics or vaccinations and are preventable in the US, however approximately 3.5 million people die each year from water-related illnesses. It is estimated that every 20 seconds a child dies from a disease from drinking unsanitary water (WHO, 2008). It is reported by the FAO that children in poor environments carry 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies at any given time from drinking contaminated water. In a global study conducted by the United Nations, unsafe water is responsible for around 80 percent of diseases and 30 percent of deaths in developing countries.
To move forward, water scarcity can be improved by small-scale agricultural improvements such as harvesting of water in shallow wells, drip irrigation for crops, the use of pumps or other technological innovations and increasing access to sanitized water. What you can do now to help the worlds water condition is take shorter showers, turn off unnecessary water when not in use, dispose of harmful chemicals properly so they do not go into our water runoff and speak up about global warming! Without your help we and our preceding generations will continue to suffer from water scarcity and water-related diseases.