How Many People Don’t Have Access to Water?
Access to water has always been an important factor in the location of settlements, whether primitive or modern, human or animal, and the need for water is a universal part of life. Unfortunately, billions of people around the world still lack access to potable water. Water shortages are usually defined as third-world phenomena, but shortages of clean water are also prevalent in the United States. As the world’s population grows, humanity must recognize that water access is becoming an increasingly global concern.
Access to Clean Water
Access to water is vital, but access to clean water is even more critical. Today, approximately one billion people do not have access to clean water, which has severely harmed the health and economic development of the most affected regions. Further, according to UNICEF, lack of safe water is the world’s single largest cause of illness. Lack of clean water can cause afflictions such as river blindness, cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, and a number of other diseases and infections. The global water crisis is not unsolvable, though. Countries around the world are actively pursuing solutions such as reduction of pollution, infrastructure building, desalinization, improved irrigation, and more.
Data Concerning Water Usage
• A person needs 7.5 to 15 liters a day for survival. Included in this are figures for drinking water, hygiene and cooking.
• On average, women in Africa and Asia walk about 6 kilometers to collect water.
• More than 3½ million people die each year from water-related diseases.
• A child dies every 20 seconds from a water-related disease.
Access to Water and Sewage Treatment
In man’s effort to stay safe, he has found ways to treat water. Water treatment occurs before the water enters a house. Unfortunately, water treatment is so simplistic that many people are still concerned for population safety. Sewage treatment is done on used water before it re-enters the source, such as a river or under ground supply. Sewage treatment speeds the process of eutrophication, or the aging process of water, and creates favorable breeding grounds for disease that would not be as concentrated if nature took care of itself. Taking the larger particles from sewage water is acceptable, but the later-stage biological processes are what cause eutrophication.
Access to water and particularly, clean water will always present a major problem to the human race. Unfortunately, there are too many people needing too many resources from the planet.