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Benefits of clean drinking water

Introduction

Water is an essential commodity regardless of the economic condition of an individual. Water is used for various purposes including cooking, cleaning, bathing, drinking and agriculture (Concern Worldwide, 2012). However, water may be classified as potable water and non-potable water. The difference between potable and non-potable water lies in its use. While potable water is used for water consumption, non-potable water may be used for gardening or washing of clothes, in toilets and so on. However, this differentiation is commonly seen in developing countries alone. All developed countries tend to use potable water for all their needs.

The depleting water table is a matter of grave concern globally. Depletion of the water table may be due to several reasons including drought, depleting forest cover, reduction n rain fall and so on.  Human acts like construction of dams that obstruct the free flow of water is also known to have an adverse affection the availability of water. However, it is essential to remember that while water is a precious resource, it is safe drinking water or potable water that is essential for the socio-economic growth of a healthy and robust nation.

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Water Crisis in Developing Countries

Water, considered among the most fundamental rights of any living creature, may also be the root cause of many types of illnesses and disease. Thus, even if water is abundant, not all water is potable for fit for consumption.. in most developing countries women and children are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring safe water for all the family members. They spend several hours of the day in this task (Team Dosomething.org, 2016)The world water council states several alarming facts on the availability of water, particularly in association with sanitation. Some of this data is shown below:

  • More than 1.1 billion people across the world do not have access to clean drinking water (World Water Council, 2016).
  • More than 3900 children die annually due to the lack of proper sanitation and non-availability of water (World Water Council, 2016).
  • 6 billion people have no access to proper sanitation(World Water Council, 2016).
  • The annual death toll from diarrheal diseases is 1.8 million (World Water Council, 2016).
  • More than an astounding 900 million people are unable to access safe drinking water (Concern Worldwide, 2012).
  • More than millions of children die every year from a lack of clean water (Concern Worldwide, 2012).
  • A child dies every minute from a water-borne disease (Team Dosomething.org, 2016).
  • More than 80 percent of untreated sewage in developing countries is discharged in local rivers and lakes (Team Dosomething.org, 2016).

While these facts sound alarming, it is only the tip of the iceberg. The Millennium Development Plan, formulated under the aegis of the United Nations aims to tackle these as well as associated problems.

Water a Basic Human Right

While access to safe drinking water is counted among the basic human rights, it still remains an unattainable dream for many. Interestingly statistics indicate that only 3 percent of the total drinking water available in the world is potable. Of this, 97 percent remains locked in glaciers (Concern Worldwide, 2012). However, by ensuring that potable water sources are not contaminated, the world population would continue to enjoy safe drinking water even at the present rate of consumption. For water to be considered potable it needs to meet certain criteria. This includes:

  • the proportion of salt content in the water
  • the proportion of parasites and vectors like e-coli, mosquitoes and so on in the water
  • the source and its neighborhood to identify possible sources of contamination like mines, animals and so on
  • The level of lead or similar poisonous substances in the surrounding area

Benefits of Clean Drinking Water

Access to clean drinking water would help reduce mortality rates in developing countries. In fact this is one of the best methods of improving the health of the residents of the area (United Nations, 2014). This is particularly important for children below five years of age who tend to be highly prone to death from water-borne diseases. By ensuring an adequate supply of clean water, it is possible to improve sustainable food production and thereby reduce hunger and poverty (Team Dosomething.org, 2016). The greatest benefit would be to the socio-economic growth of developing countries (World Water Council, 2016). Statistically speaking, each $1 that is spent on sanitation and water results in a whopping $8 worth of increase in productivity, saving of time and reduction of costs in health care. (Team Dosomething.org, 2016).

Developing Countries and Clean Drinking Water

The focus on adequate water supply and sanitation in developing countries would help in improving their living conditions and help combat the illnesses and associated deaths. Thus by ensuring adequate drinking water, the world community is also making a gigantic effort to combat diseases caused by dirty water. Measures like desalinization, rainwater harvesting, conservation of water, water recycling and water purification are the commonly used methods to derive clean drinking water (Concern Worldwide, 2012).  An increase in access to safe and clean water would bring about a significant improvement in the health, social well-being and economy of any community. In fact, consumption of unclean water is the single most factors contributing to the large number of deaths from diseases like cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, diarrhea and parasites (Concern Worldwide, 2012).

Conclusion

The water crisis is a matter of grave concern and needs to be addressed on a war footing. Commitment and collaboration are the cornerstones that would help achieve the international objective of providing safe and clean drinking water to one and all in the developing world. Water must be used prudently to ensure that it remains accessible and affordable in the future as well (Concern Worldwide, 2012). The economic growth of these countries is deeply interlinked with access to clean drinking water. Thus, it is necessary to look at long-term solutions for the problem and ensure long-term water security across the globe rather than providing short-term relief (MIT, 2016).

References

Concern Worldwide. (2012). Water. Retrieved Nov 29, 2016, from http://gcc.concernusa.org/: http://gcc.concernusa.org/content/uploads/2014/08/Water.pdf

MIT. (2016). Water Security in Developing Countries. Retrieved Nov 30, 2016, from http://12.000.scripts.mit.edu/mission2017/: http://12.000.scripts.mit.edu/mission2017/water-security-in-developing-countries/

Team Dosomething.org. (2016). 11 Facts about water in the devoloping world. Retrieved Nov 30, 2016, from https://www.dosomething.org/us/: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-water-developing-world

United Nations. (2014). Water, Sanitisation and Hygiene. Retrieved Nov 30, 2016, from http://www.unwater.org/: http://www.unwater.org/topics/water-sanitation-and-hygiene/en/

World Water Council. (2016). Water Supply and Sanitation. Retrieved Nov 28, 2016, from http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/: http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/library/archives/water-supply-sanitation/

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