Clean drinking water is an essential resource for sustaining life. Its a reality that in one part of the world people are dying without this particular resource whilst the same resource is being wasted recklessly in another parts of the world.
Water is a naturally occurring commodity. In many parts of the world, people are forced to pay for this essential commodity where those who can’t afford it are left to die. Multi-million dollar businesses have been setup to sell water for profits. The idea of selling water for profits is as ludicrous as selling oxygen.
Globally 1.8 billion people lack access to safe water yet the majority of us waste it on a daily basis and pay to drink it from plastic bottles when it is readily available through the taps in our homes. Over 840,000 people die annually from diseases caused by unsafe drinking water, poor hygiene and sanitation. Over a third of people in the world lack access to a toilet, which is more than the number of people who have a mobile phone.
The World Economic Forum in January 2015 ranked the water crisis as the number 1 global risk based on impact to society as a measure of devastation. How did it get to this?
For the large part, it is the privatization of water that contributes greatly to the current flawed system. In many water-poor countries such as those in Asia and the Middle East, companies such as Nestle take water from them and sell it for a profit to richer countries who already have excessive supplies. They argue that without manufacturing it would not be available to people for consumption anyway. The water-poor countries are faced with high water rates/rate which means clean bottled water is predominantly sold in countries where there is little need for it and people can afford it i.e. USA & Europe; thus those in dire need of it continue to suffer without it.
The lack of access to clean water has been a longstanding problem but today factors such as an increasing global population, climate change and economic growth are putting an even bigger strain on the natural resource by creating a greater demand for it i.e. in agriculture, energy production etc. Whilst the demand for water continues to grow, the quantity available does not; consequently water continues to become more scarce for those who need it the most.
“And it’s only going to get worse,” states Richard Connor, editor-in-chief of the United Nation’s World Water Development Report 2016 (WWDR), released in June 2016. The WWDR predicts there will be 33 percent (9.3 billion people) more people by 2050 than there were in 2011. However, developed countries have the advantage of being able to collect and store water i.e. dams, reservoirs etc. And so again, water scarcity will affect the developing world to a much greater and much more devastating extent.
It is vital that we act now and initiate better management of water and educate people on the increasing scarcity of water and the importance of using it efficiently i.e. through establishing better irrigation techniques, persuading the government to alter its position on selling water as a commodity, not wasting it etc.
Educating people on the scarcity of water will encourage people to fund clean water projects and will also provide people with an opportunity to voice their opinions/concerns so that we can work towards finding sustainable solutions together. Just as each of us has a right to live, we should also have a right to those resources that are essential to sustain life. We all have a moral obligation to ensure we make clean drinking water accessible to people in all parts of the world – rich and poor.
Disclaimer: All views/opinions stated in this article are of the respective writer and not of The Youth Observer.