Water covers more than 70 percent of our planet, yet more than a billion people find it hard to get access to clean, drinking water. This is because freshwater, the potable water we drink, cook with, irrigate our fields with and use for manufacturing is only 3 percent of the total water available on the planet. Out of this, almost two-thirds are frozen in glaciers.
Of the available water, a lot of it is polluted and unfit for drinking. Those areas which do not have adequate water for their inhabitants are said to face water insecurity. Although this is a regular challenge that many developing countries in the world face, it gets little publicity on the world stage.
5 Consequences of water insecurity
Disruption of education- In communities facing water insecurity, the onus of fetching water for the family rests with the girls and women. This could include traveling miles to the nearest water source and coming back with drinking water. Naturally, these school-going girls have to skip school to provide water to their families.
Rise in waterborne diseases- Sometimes, many communities facing water insecurity are forced to drink and use polluted water. This puts them at risk of waterborne diseases like malaria, diarrhea, and schistosomiasis. Schistosomiasis is the most deadly of the three. It is a parasitic worm that enters in body through the skin when the body comes in contact with water containing untreated sewerage. This disease is most prevalent in Africa.
Lower levels of food production- When potable water is scarce, irrigating fields is not possible. Farmers in water-stressed regions depend on the rains to water their fields. When the rains are deficient, the local food output suffers a lot. This makes people in water-stressed communities have little food at their disposal. Most of them then have to depend on outside aid.
Lower industrial output- Almost all manufacturing processes require water. Sweet water is needed as a coolant, raw material, or a part of the manufacturing process. When there is less water than what’s needed, industries cannot work at their optimum levels and this results in lower industrial outputs. When this happens, the local government has to get goods from other regions or import goods, increasing the pressure on the local economy.
Political conflicts- Water resources are unevenly distributed across the world- one country may be blessed with many lakes, rivers, and underground water while others have to depend on their neighborhood countries for water. There are many examples of conflict between countries for water resources- Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan are fighting over the waters of the Nile while India and Pakistan are fighting over the former’s dams on the Indus river water system.
In the end
No matter what the reason for water insecurity, it is the poor and needy who suffer the most. Many Feed the hungry organizations work towards helping those in need of water and other essential resources.
Many of these NGOs are helping to revive local water sources, or making sure the water reaches the ones who matter. Donating to a cause like this can help you gain immense goodwill and blessings from those who need it. Donate now and help transform lives!