The Water Crisis
In the developing world, millions of people – usually women and children - must walk many hours every day to collect surface or well water. That water is in general polluted with micro-organisms that cause diseases, and often also with other unhealthy substances such as heavy metals and chemicals. If the water is cooked before use to kill the micro-organisms, then extra firewood must be collected in addition to what is needed for cooking food. The increased use of firewood to boil water to improve its quality creates a number of additional health and environmental issues such as smoke inhalation, deforestation and desertification.
Childhood mortality and recurring illness from waterborne diseases like typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery and worms are without a doubt the biggest issue with contaminated water: every 2 minutes a child dies from a waterborne disease.
But there are many more issues related to the lack of access to safe drinking water. Because of these, providing people with reliable water purification and filtration equipment to produce safe drinking water not only contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation) but also to at least 11 other SDG’s:
SDG 1: No Poverty
Safe water means healthier and more productive adults, who can spend more time working themselves out of poverty. With the availability of safe water from local resources, people don’t need to spend money to buy bottled water.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
Safe water reduces vulnerability to waterborne diseases which cause early childhood death and recurrent illness from cholera, typhoid, worms etc.
SDG 4: Quality Education
Children can spend more time in school, or don’t drop out, because they have fewer sick days and don’t have to collect water and firewood.
SDG 5: Gender Equality
Collecting water and firewood is mostly the task of women and girls. This prevents them from going to school or work, but also makes them more vulnerable to gender-based violence during walks to remote areas.
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Direct access to safe water leaves more time and opportunities for income generating activities.
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
Besides gender inequality, good access to safe water also reduces the inequality between the developed and the developing world.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Providing nearby access to safe water reduces the need for people in rural areas to migrate to urbanized areas with better energy and fresh water supplies. In disaster stricken areas it reduces the need to migrate to refugee camps.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Purifying available but contaminated water reduces the need for bottled and tankered water.
SDG 13: Climate Action
Removing the necessity to boil water reduces carbon dioxide emission. Reducing the need for bottled water contributes to avoiding emissions related to transportation of water.
SDG 14: Life Below Water
Reducing CO2 emissions in turn reduces the acidification of oceans. Reduced need for plastic bottles will decrease plastic pollution.
SDG 15: Life on Land
Reduced use of firewood will decrease deforestation and desertification.