Did you know that 1 in 10 people do not have access to safe water? This means that 663 million people are using hazardous water. To put this number into proportion, twice the population of the United Stated lives without access to safe water. Even more startling is the fact that every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease. In fact, the water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation), as announced by the World Economic Forum in January 2015. Clean water is scarce around the world for a number of concerning reasons.
Some regions do not have the necessary natural water resources to support the large population. Water can become scarce from overuse or disregard for its value, especially in countries where it is not plentiful to begin with. When water is used for animals, land, and recreation (though these things are still important) in countries without much usable water, they take away from the water supply for the people. Many people do not live in an area that is near a water source, which is more common than you would expect. Residents of secluded or very dry areas may have to travel miles to a fresh water source, where they have to stock up on their supply. They may spend an entire day searching for drinkable water. Weather can also pose issues by creating a drought, which causes water sources to become dry, as they are not kept full by rainfall.
Deserts and even other non-desert regions are in a state of perpetual drought. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to prevent this type of water shortage. The scarcity of clean, drinkable water is also due to water pollution. Water pollution is a problem internationally, especially in countries that do not regulate it as much as they should. Unknown quantities of chemicals and garbage are being illegally dumped into the water every year. On average, 250 million people worldwide have diseases related to water pollution. Underdeveloped countries often have poor sewage systems, meaning that this pollution remains in the water; in contrast, pollution is removed in the United States through the filtering process that it must go through before it is classified as drinkable. Political instability can prevent the people living in the region under duress from having access to water. Their water supply may be cut off to make a political statement. This is typical of countries that have unrest in their government and especially in countries with dictatorships.
Leaders have a great deal of influence when they are in control of the water supply, and they crave this power. Unclean water is a leading cause of disease around the world. Contaminated water can cause cholera, typhoid, viral hepatitis A, dysentery, and a variety of other health issues. Children are especially prone to disease, since their immune systems are weaker. Because they are sick, they are unable to go to school. Long-term ramifications point to uneducated and unhealthy children growing up to be uneducated and unhealthy adults, if they even live that long. The lack of sanitation that results from poor sewage systems leads to a higher rate of disease in underdeveloped countries. In the United States, we often take for granted how accessible water is to most of us. We use the expression of dying of thirst, but it is sobering to think that this really is a reality for some people. Humans cannot survive very long without drinking water, and even that?s discounting the effects a lack of water has on a country’s agriculture and industry. The importance of water in humankind daily life cannot be understated, and it’s why many scientists have made modern water filtration technology a focus of study recently. Read more about filtration systems and their role in the future of water here.