Clean Water By Kerri Lyons

Part One:

According to Leonardo Da Vinci, "Water is the driving force of all nature" - without it, no living thing can survive. Though water is a renewable source, the availability of clean freshwater in our world today is a major challenge we are currently experiencing. Due to droughts, pollution, and a growing population, clean freshwater is becoming more and more inadequate.


Illness is caused by unclean water. Human sewage, mosquitos, and the runoff of metal and other materials from mining that mix into these fresh water sources, cause life threatening diseases. The most common waterborne diseases caused by bacteria in dirty water include Cholera, Hepatitis A, and Typhoid fever. Once a person has contracted this disease, it can easily be spread to another person by a simple touch, causing more and more infections that can potentially lead to death.


"One of the main causes of water scarcity is inefficient use, especially in food production, which means that poorly managed water resources can lead to famine." - Voss foundation

The connection between clean water and food is closely related. Without clean water, there is no food; plants, like humans and animals, need clean water to survive. On average, humans need to drink around 2.5 liters of water per day, whereas the amount of food produced for one person needs 2,000 - 5,000 liters of water per day.


"About 71 percent of the Earth's surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth's water. Water also exists in the air as water vapor, in rivers and lakes, in icecaps and glaciers..." - The USGS Water Science School

Though the Earth accounts for 96.5% of our water, only 2.5% is freshwater, and only 1% of that freshwater is clean.


Our world is currently facing the consequences of having unclean, unsafe water to drink, such as illness, malnourishment, and in worst cases, death. Depending on the area of the world and its conditions, the amount of unclean water can be more severe than others.

Current Illness:
"The World Health Organization says that every year more than 3.4 million people die as a result of water related diseases, making it the leading cause of disease and death around the world." -Voa News

Today, about 4,000 children die everyday as a result of disease from unclean water (usually in Africa and Asia). Also, 50% of the areas around the world that have unsafe drinking water today, once had systems that provided clean water, but due to age and lack of maintenance, they stopped working.

One in six people today, or 38% of people around the world, do not have access to drinkable water, whereas 62% do.

Current Famine:

Because of the lack of clean water to water crops, some countries, mainly Ethiopia, Brazil, and India are suffering from severe famines. Today, 795 million people, or one in nine, are malnourished. Asia, the world's highest populated region, houses 2/3 of these people.

Current Amount of Water:

Today, of the 1% of freshwater that is drinkable, only .003 is available, and it is shared between the 7.5 billion people living on this Earth. The rest of that .997% is either too far underground, trapped in the soil, or trapped in ice.

The graph above illustrates how the supply of freshwater (from rivers specifically) is declining.


India, the world's second most populous country, is currently facing a water crisis. Because over half this country faces poverty (52%), it is very hard to find water, food, and other essential resources needed to survive.

Currently, one in two children are malnourished in India and 100 million homes are lacking a clean supply of water. India has no rain catchment programs put in place, so the little rain they get is soaked up immediately into the dry soil instead of going to people or crops. Only 33% of the entire country has access to clean water, whereas the other 67% are getting sick from unsanitary water. In fact, 21% of India's diseases are waterborne, but this number has been decreasing throughout the years.
"India loses 200 million person days and Rs 36,600 crore every year due to water-related diseases." -IndiaSpend

What Does India's Future Look Like?

By 2050, India's population is said increase to a total of 1.6 billion, passing Asia's and becoming the most populated region in the world. However, the constant growing population will drain India's low supply of clean water even more. This will lead to the death of crops, which will also lead to more famine and malnourishment. And, because India is a major exporter of grain, the death of these crops will seriously hurt their economy as well. Due to the growing population and scarcity of water, India's future shows sure signs of political conflict within the country.
"Whatever the means, India needs solutions now. Children in 100 million homes in the country lack water, and one out of every two children are malnourished. Environmental justice needs to be restored to India so that families can raise their children with dignity, and providing water to communities is one such way to best ensure that chance." -Shannyn Snyder


Created with images by Mickyboyc - "Petrified Stone Bike" • praetoriansentry - "Ocean Sunset" • kimberlykv - "Margerie Glacier" • Rennett Stowe - "Sumatran Tiger"

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