Clean Water By Maddie Bruce

Part 1

17% of humanity is without access to clean water

The luxury of clean water is a privilege so many take for granted today. We can obtain clean, fresh water with the turn of a faucet or even the flip of a switch. However, finding clean water is a global challenge that affects billions of people worldwide. Without access to clean water, basic human needs are not met, illnesses plague villages and cities, and opportunity for growth is inhibited.

Human Needs

Water provides for everyday needs, including cooking, growing, bathing, and cleaning. If the water used for these is contaminated or unclean, people aren't fed, can't safely bathe, and are unable to sanitize household items.


Among the dozens, contaminated water can cause illnesses such as types of diarrheal diseases, including Cholera, and other serious ones such as Guinea worm disease, Typhoid, and Dysentery. Water related diseases are responsible for 3.4 million deaths each year.

Little Opportunity for Growth

If a village or city is faced with the challenge of not having a clean water source, it is more likely to encounter economic, environmental, and developmental issues. Cities cannot be sustainable or productive without access to safe water and adequate sanitation. Coping with the growing needs of clean water sources and services within villages and cities is still one of the most critical and ongoing issues of this century. Locating sustainable, efficient and equitable methods of clean water management has never been as important as in today's world.

Part 2

The current status of securing clean, safe-drinking water worldwide is slowly but steadily improving. However, there is still a long way to go in regards to curing the global issue.

Status of Improvement

91% of the worldwide population uses an improved source of water – one that protects from external contamination – up from 76% in 1990.

The number of people who don't have access to purified water has dropped to 663 million – the lowest amount recorded in history.


In the map above, the data show that the number of countries with 70-85% or more of a population with clean water access currently outnumber those with 55% or less

Challenges Still Faced

There are still the 663 million people who do not have an improved drinking water source, most of whom are poor and live in rural areas in developing countries.

Questions are also posed as to the safety of this ‘improved’ drinking water, which may not always be free of contaminants and or provide as a reliable source of water throughout the year.

Part 3

Clean water in India

While there have been improvements over the past few decades, India's immense population has left the nation with some of the most unsanitized water sources that as a result hold the country back in the areas of health and developement.

India has the highest population of people without access to clean water

People are often forced to turn to an alternative sources water, due to the price or simply the issue of inaccessibility. As a result of contaminated water usage, countless illnesses are caused annually.

140,000 children die per year of diarrhoeal diseases in India.

Half of the water supply in rural areas, where 70% of India’s population is living, is contaminated with toxic bacteria. In addition, water pumps in cities and villages often contain contaminates from ground soil pollutants.

“India is lagging far behind the rest of the world in providing water and sanitation both to its rural and urban populations. Not one city in India provides water on an all-day, everyday basis.” - Smita Misra, a Senior Economist at World Bank.

Looking towards towards the future

India's government has recently been trying to improve the status of clean water for the country's population. This involves tapping rainwater in small ponds created by check dams that collect clean, sustainable water.

There has also been a five-year-plan introduced (2012-2017) to focus on the water crisis and target sanitation and irrigation systems.

The Bottom Line

Clean, safe drinking water is scarce and still remains a serious global challenge. Today, nearly 1 billion people in developing countries do not have access to it.

We should appreciate this precious resource, rather than waste, take advantage of, and pay way too much for it in plastic bottles.

Water is truly the foundation of life. And still today, all around the world, far too many people still devote essentially all their time and energy searching for it.


Created with images by qimono - "water drop droplet" • wilhei - "laundry dry dry laundry" • jacquisosa - "vegetables yellow orange" • Mishio - "Sick." • ToGa Wanderings - "Tapestry of Dharavi - Mumbai" • DFID - UK Department for International Development - "Collecting clean water with the help of UKaid" • DFID - UK Department for International Development - "Providing clean water and sanitation" • DFAT photo library - "Africa Watsan 11"

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