4 Ways Water Can Change Lives

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It is a known fact that water is one of the most important natural resources on earth. Dominantly responsible for life on earth, more than 99% of water present on our planet is unusable by humans and a lot of different living beings . Taking these facts into consideration, human beings need to realize that the utilization of this life-sustaining resource, must be done judiciously, and conservatively.

People, especially those residing in urban areas, with easy access to water, tend to take this finite resource for granted, not realizing its vulnerability to over-usage.  Urban populations, especially of developed and developing countries, who have been shielded from water crises by their administration, are also starting to experience poor sanitation and a shortage of water supply today. Even then, shocking contrasts exist in the distribution of available water. This difference may be linked to the divergent economic conditions of the population of an area.

However, economic differences are not always responsible for unfair water distribution. Urban areas accommodate significant rural-to-urban migration, resulting in an urban population explosion, and the rise of overcrowded slums. These slums have either poor or almost no sanitation facilities, and sparse availability of water. Rural-to-urban migration essentially occurs due to limited outland opportunities.

Rural areas are the worst affected by water crises and generally lack access to water. In some areas, the village population has to walk great distances just to fetch a few liters of water for their daily sustenance. The time invested in these activities costs opportunities, especially of women and school-going children. This negatively impacts their health and productivity. Such situations may arise from either a failure of institutions to ensure a proper water supply or simply a lack of essential infrastructure, owing to the remoteness of the area and consequent difficulties in setting up infra. The advent of Global Warming, due to anthropogenic actions, along with Climate Change, has made water availability much less predictable. Droughts are adding to water scarcity and an increased frequency of flooding is threatening and contaminating water resources. As mentioned before, rural areas face the worst of these adversities, especially since their sustenance is majorly dependent on Mother Nature. Water is slowly becoming more of an unnamed luxury than a right. Data provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that approximately one fifth of the population on earth is facing water scarcity.

The need of the hour is to educate current and upcoming generations of the populace, regarding this increasingly dominant issue. Administrative agencies, in collaboration with local representative bodies, need to formulate an action plan to tackle the emerging crisis. If water is given that extra focus and used judiciously, it holds the potential to change lives. Adequate access of quality water for all can bring about large-scale changes, eminently in the rural sector.

So what can Clean Water do? We have highlighted how people’s lives can change, just with their water issues sorted.

  • Make Way for Nutritional Security

Diseases from dirty water kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war (as found out by our friends at Charity Water). People with no or limited access to safe drinking water, have to face malnourishment and loss of productivity. Access to clean water will bring global food and nutritional insurance and will also help reduce infant mortality rates, caused by diarrheal diseases that rise due to unhealthy conditions and improper sanitation.

  • Increase Employment Opportunities

The world still generates 66% of electricity from fossil fuels. Along with the development of renewable sources of energy, we still need to cater to the needs of the non-renewable sources already in progress. Fossil fuel production and even nuclear energy production is highly water intensive. Proper access to water can lead to generation of electricity and thus, create a lot of employment opportunities. However, non-renewable sources cannot be considered feasible in the long run.

  • Help Empower Women

In low income countries, women primarily bear the responsibility of fetching water, which is time-consuming and tiresome. In South Africa, in poor rural households, women who fetch water and fuel wood, spend 25% less time in paid employment. Due to poor sanitation, women and girls have to walk to open defecation sites and are vulnerable to misdeeds. They also have specific hygiene requirements during pregnancy and menstruation. With proper sanitation and easy access to water, time is saved and further, new employment opportunities for women are created.

  • Help Increase Agricultural Productivity

Agriculture is known to be the biggest user of water, and adequate availability of water will lead to agricultural efficiency. With the rise in populations, demand for food has been increasing exponentially. Efficient and precise irrigation methods along the agrifood chain can help salvage water and energy.

It is in fact surprising to see how water has the ability to change lives, to such an extent that it can improve standards of living. Thus, there is an urgent need to create awareness and work towards protecting the sources of water and help everyone get their fair share. Traditional methods like rainwater harvesting are a great measure to work towards conservation of water. Renewable sources of energy reduce dependence on water to generate electricity. Solar powered irrigation pumps are also a great alternative that work towards a definite usage of water, mechanized with a sustainable solution.

It’s time we appreciate what we have, before it turns into something we used to have.

Written By – Prakriti Sharma

Edited By – Anirban Banerjee