World Water Day: 10 Places Most in Need of Clean Water
“Without water, life would not exist.”- Water.org
Water is necessary for all humans to survive. Some of us have access to water and take it for granted. Many of us can walk to a grocery store and buy bottled water or we can just go into our kitchens or bathrooms to get water from a tap. There are many more in this world who do not have this kind of luxury. There are billions of people being effected by a water crisis. Nearly one billion humans have no access to clean, drinkable water. And 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a toilet.
The goal of World Water Day is to raise awareness about the water crisis that is happening in our world. We need to educate ourselves on where the crisis is taking place and then we need to do our best to make it so that there will never be a need for another World Water Day.
Here are the ten places that are in dire need of clean, safe, drinkable water:
Only 13% of the country has clean drinking water readily available, according to NationMaster. Some areas of Afghanistan are physically scarce of water, but the majority of the population is affected by a lack of safe access to clean water. Inadequate infrastructure to supply water, increased pollution, neglect and destruction from turmoil in the country have all led to an increased need for clean water for a growing population of people.
Africa is one of the first places that many think of when considering those most in need of water. Ethiopia is especially in need. The state has a population estimate of 82 million. Fourty-two percent of the population has access to an improved water supply. Only 11% have access to clean sanitation. The lack of water contributes to a high infant mortality rate (77/1,100 live births), health problems, and a lack of education. Women and children are burdened with the task to get water. Sometimes walking up to six hours to collect water from unprotected pools of water that might be contaminated.
Chad has been affected by a water crisis as well as a food crisis. The Horn of Africa is being hit with the worst drought that it has ever seen which is causing a food shortage and also a water shortage. Oxfam reports that over one million children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition in the areas of Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and northern Senegal.
In Cambodia 84% of the population does not have access to clean, safe water. The Mekong River flows through this area of Southeast Asia and it is often affected by monsoon season from May to November. How could a place that has a river flowing through it and a monsoon season be in a water crisis? A lack of technology, contamination of water, and a reliance on rainfall for drinking water contribute to the water crisis in Cambodia.
A country that holds the largest part of the Mekong River is experiencing a water crisis due to low water levels. The river is a crucial resource for the country and its people. Laos depends upon the river for electricity, food, transportation, and much more. According to the Asia Foundation, “In recent years, hydropower has become one of Laos’ largest industries, and much of the farming – subsistence agriculture supports 80 percent of the population – and resulting food supply in Laos is affected by the health of the Mekong and its tributaries.” Low water levels can mean devastation for those living in the area.
Water.org reports that one in five people in Haiti lack access to a sanitary toilet and half of the people in the area lack access to clean water. Haiti is still trying to recover from the 2010 7.0 magnitude earthquake that killed an estimated 316,000 people and devastated buildings, residences and many settlements including Port-au-Prince. Water.org pledged to bring 50,000 Haitians water at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. Since Haiti is a water-stressed area finding resources to use is a challenge. Soil erosion, deforestation, and a lack of water treatment facilities are contributing to Haiti’s water crisis.
There are quite a few areas in Ghana affected by a water crisis. The Volta Region which borders Bukina Faso and Togo are remote and poor regions. Very few families have access to improved sanitation and many families lack access to safe water. Waterborne diseases are common health issues in the area. Diarrhea and guinea worm (an endemic in Ghana and three other countries) are the common waterborne illnesses. Sadly, the contributing factor to guinea worm is the lack of clean drinking water. The disease could be eradicated by drinking clean, uncontaminated water.
A growing population in India is putting a strain on the countries natural resources. Water sources have been contaminated by sewage and agricultural runoff. Water.org reports that 21% of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water. Progress has been made in the country, but much more is needed to bring safe water to a growing population.
Rwanda is a developing nation that is rich in water resources yet lacks the infrastructure to bring clean water to its population. Public water systems are hard to install because of the lands topography. Water shortages and a lack of clean, accessible water increases a threat to the Rwandan people. The population faces preventable diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and many other diseases. A lack of clean water means that Rwanda has a high childhood mortality rate, one in five.
One of the major health problems in Bangladesh can be traced to water scarcity and a lack of quality water. Diarrheal diseases account for over 100,000 deaths of children each year. The water crisis affects both rural and urban areas. Many in the slums of Dhaka, the capital city, do not have access to a safe toilet and only 16% of the population in rural areas actually has access to a latrine. Population in Bangladesh is increasing especially in urban areas and the need for clean, safe water for consumption and for safe, sanitary toilet usages.
If you want to help give water to those who are in need please get involved, spread the word or make a donation to Water.org.