Water changes everything.

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Every morning, I wake up to the same routine, a simple routine that we take advantage of everyday. I wake up (after hitting the snooze button a couple of times of course) use the restroom and brush my teeth, eat breakfast while gulping down a giant glass of water, then take a long hot shower to wake myself up for the day. Can you imagine not being able to wake up and not follow this simple routine so many of us follow?  Because most of the world is forced to live in a world without a hot shower, a working toilet or even a clean glass of water.  In fact, 1.6 billion people lack access to clean water in the world, or ¼ of the world’s population! Without clean water the human population cannot exist, making it vital that society pay attention to the scarcity of this resource and provide ways to protect it. Only 2.53 percent of earth’s water is fresh, and some two-thirds of that is locked up in glaciers and permanent snow cover. There are plenty of ways we can conserve water, here are just 100 that include ideas such as, “Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time” and “Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.”

Water scarcity is both a natural and a human-made phenomenon, therefore the water problem isn’t just a problem of scarcity but of access. There is enough freshwater on the planet for six billion people but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and poorly managed. Poorer countries don’t have the monetary resources to put an infrastructure in place that promises citizens sanitary water. See the following chart that tells us which areas of the world have/don’t have adequate water supplies.

You notice that the underdeveloped countries are the ones struggling with water shortage. An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day. So while we enjoy our 15 minute morning showers, 1 child is dying every 20 seconds in these countries because the water they are forced to drink water is filled with disease. People in these countries don’t have the economic ability to provide appropriate ways to discard waste, which is the world’s biggest cause of infection.

While conserving water going to help us preserve this natural resource for the future, we also need to think about what we can do for these under-developed countries today. Water.org gives us plenty of ways to get involved:

  • Fundraise using tips from the website. Communities around the world can he helped by the money that you earn. In fact, households, not public agencies, often make the largest investment in basic sanitation, with the ratio of household to government investment typically 10 to 1.
  • Follow water.org projects in real-time. After you choose a community you can watch first hand the progress they make
  • Donate your voice. Which allows Water.org to post facts and stories about water sanitation to your twitter and Facebook feeds, which will help spread the word.

Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. For each $1 invested, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates returns of $3 – $34, depending on the region and technology. If we can help provide an adequate water supply to these countries, the health and overall status of their communities will improve. We are living in a global society and it is our duty to help ensure that this happens, so that one day lesser developed countries can be self-sustaining and live the kinds of lives we are used to (and take for granted I might add).

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