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Water ScarcitySix hundred sixty three million people in the world do not have access to clean water,1 and over 2.7 billion people face water shortages for at least one month out of the year.2 Fresh water sources account for less than 3 percent of the world’s water supply, and the majority of earth’s naturally occurring, fresh water is in glaciers — inaccessible to be used for consumption.3 Water usage has increased at twice the rate as that of the world’s population growth.4 The agriculture industry is attributed to 70 percent of the world’s water withdrawal.5 At the current rate, nearly two-thirds of the world could face water shortages by 2025.6 In much of the developing world, clean water is a commodity that requires funding, transportation and physical Read More labor to obtain. Women around the world spend a total of 200 million hours a day traveling to collect water, taking time away from their economic activities and families.7 Fifty percent of those facing water scarcity live in India and China, and 500 million people live in regions where the water supply cannot keep up with the rate of water consumption.8 Though there is sufficient water on the planet to meet the needs of the world population, water distribution, usage, climate and pollution limit the amount of consumable water available from region to region, causing water stress or scarcity. Water scarcity may be caused by a lack of water supply altogether, or a lack of consumable supply due to contamination or salination.9 When there is insufficient water supply for irrigation, certain crops and products can become scarce, causing food shortages in already strained regions.10 Just 2.5 percent of the world’s water is freshwater, and only 0.007 percent of all water is both fresh and available for use.11 An estimated 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons — or 326 quintillions — of water are on the planet, and if just 0.007 percent of that volume is available and fresh, 2,282,000,000,000,000,000 gallons — over 2 quadrillions — of freshwater are readily accessible for human use.1213 Show Less
Water and SanitationOver 3.4 million people die as a result of contaminated water annually.1 Diarrheal diseases, largely caused by contaminated water, are one of the leading causes of death in children under five, responsible for approximately 525,000 fatalities annually.2 Poor sanitation infrastructure and hygiene practices contaminate many local water supplies, and the majority of waterborne illnesses are caused by ingesting water contaminated with fecal matter.3 Over 2 billion people around the world lack access to a toilet.4 Annually, there are 1.7 billion cases of diarrheal disease in children.5 Thirty eight percent of medical facilities lack access to an adequate water supply, 19 percent lack proper sanitation infrastructure — 35 percent do not have soap or hand-washing stations.6 Thirty four percent of schools in the world lack basic Read More sanitation facilities — 47 percent lacked avenues for basic hygienic routines such as handwashing.7 Cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis A, dysentery and schistosomiasis are often caused by bacteria found in water contaminated with fecal matter.8 According to the World Health Organization, there is an economic return of $3-4 for each dollar invested in clean water and sanitation infrastructure.9 Show Less
Clean Water OtherWater is fundamental component of human development, yet nearly one billion people worldwide lack access to clean water.1 The global community is suffering from severe water scarcity and inadequate access to sanitation systems.2 Each day children across the world spend hours walking to collect water for their families and they miss out on crucial educational opportunities.3 Countless schools in rural regions of impoverished countries are not properly equipped with separate toilet facilities for their female students, which often discourages girls from attending school.4 Equally important to potable water is sanitation and personal hygiene, and global health is crippled by the fact that the vast majority of the people on the planet are unable to properly and safely dispose of their own waste.5,6 It is estimated that Read More nearly 1.2 billion people have no appropriate mechanisms for disposing of human waste safely.7 This lack of sanitation has become the most common cause for infections in humans.8 Children under five years of age are considered to be at the highest risk for contracting serious infections that can lead to serious illness and even death.9 The most common illness that children suffer from regarding sanitation issues is diarrhea.10 Experts estimate that over 1.5 million children under five years dies from complications relating to diarrheal diseases.11 If international organizations and governments were to work together to help empower communities and countries to take action and improve water and sanitation practices several positive changes could happen across the globe.12 If half of the nearly one billion people without these services were to gain access to clean water, then 272 million more children would be able to attend school and the total number of preventable deaths that are deterred would constitute approximately $3.6 billion USD annually.13 Access to water has also been determined as a major cause for wars and serious uprisings between countries.14 This problem is especially exacerbated in the Middle East where water scarcity is high since the advent of global climate change and it is causing food shortages across the Middle East.15 1 http://thewaterproject.org/water_scarcity 2 http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/global/wash_statistics.html 3 Ibid 4 http://www.unicef.org/wash/ 5-6 Ibid 7 http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/sanitation/ 8-13 Ibid 14http://ncusar.org/modelarableague/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Joint-Defense-Council.pdf 15 Ibid Show Less
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