life without water

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Drowning Out Sarrow With Water

Through my blogs I have discussed non-profit organizations that raise awareness and funding to bring water wells to underdeveloped countries. I have mentioned how children are unable to receive an education due to the lack of time and work of retrieving water. I have also pinpointed specific regions of the world and tried to express their way of life through real life stories. Today though, instead of focusing on just how bad things are without water, I would like to talk about the success rate of water wells that have been built and the people of the world that have been saved. Specifically I would like to express my own personal thanks to Charity: water (a non-profit organization) for their time, effort, and charitable donations to the world water crisis. Since 2004, charity: water has already supplied 6,185 water projects, serving 2,545,000 people. To break that down, 91 of the projects went to clinics and hospitals, 703 to schools, and 5,391 to communities. Overall the organization has raised $40 million for funding. Charity: water has given hope and life to so many and their help and support is more than words can express. However, without such generous donations for the general public none of this could have been done, so I would also like to thank those who have raised money and donated out of the kindness of their heart to the global crisis. The number of wells and the lives saved are steadily increasing! Below I have shown exactly where donations have come from and where the proceeds have been spent thus far: Overall donations: 184,375 Members: 108, 085 Raised through Campaigns: $14,124,920 Raised for Water Projects: $12,696,058 Raised for Drilling Rigs: $1,428,862 With every $1 invested for improved water access and sanitation yields an average of $12 in economic returns, depending on the project. So for investors, this is a smart decision. Make the decision to support Charity: water. A donation of just $20 could potentially save a life.

Sources:

charitywater.org

World Water Day- March 22

Today marks the national holiday of World Water Day.  World Water Day was established by the United Nations in 1993 to look at water issues around the world.  Today is a day to raise awareness.  It is a way for the public to show support to countries in the water crisis. According to recent records, 11% of the world’s population does not have access to safe drinking water.  4,000 children die every year from lack of sanitary water.  To show support, World Water Day challenges and encourages the public to not use their tap for an entire day.

Ned Breslin, CEO of Water For People, was interviewed by Poptech last year on “World Water Day and the long-term water solutions”.  The organizations main goal is to follow through and follow up on water systems after they have been built.  He was asked why World Water Day is so significant and he responded by saying, “We rightly celebrate the day when a community gets water for the first time but also to return to check on the well systems and to make sure they are running properly”.  He mentions that in order to be successful Water For People need to stay engaged and monitor their work.

Breslin and the Water For People organization showed support last year by carrying through with a session in Washington DC on learning and improving programmatic performance.  World Water Day is a day for anyone to raise awareness and attention to the water crisis.  WaterAid America has a page on their website dedicated to helping members anywhere in the world to start campaign.  The campaign is called Walk for Water and is a way for a community to get involved in raising funds for people in poor countries with little clean water.

If you visit the site http://www.wateraidamerica.org/get_involved/world_water_day/world_water_day_walks.aspx, they take you through the process of creating and setting up a Walk for Water event.  They show you how you can plan your route, recruit help, keep the event safe, raise funds, and publicize the event.  With the help of organizations already in the process of improving the way of life to the poorest countries by bringing wells for safe drinking water, we too can make a change.  By becoming more educated on the global water crisis, you can raise awareness and funds to help so many around the world.  Hopefully, with the help of a few we can gain the support of a larger crowd to want to become a part of the success story.

 

Sources:

http://poptech.org/blog/interview_ned_breslin_on_world_water_day_and_longterm_water_solutions

http://www.wateraidamerica.org/get_involved/world_water_day/world_water_day_walks.aspx

 

 

From Water Crisis to Global Food Crisis

In the beginning years of the 21st century, water has become a limited resource.  In the past water was inexpensive and there was an unlimited amount.  The water shortages of today are only getting worse, not only that, it is leading to food shortages as well.  The world water crisis is disaster for global food crisis.

There have been many reasons for the shortages of water around the world, such as droughts and the overuse, but looking at agricultural activity proves to be a major issue.  With crops and grain that need harvesting, the supply of water to these farms is “sucking the earth’s rivers and underground aquifers dry (Pearce)”.  Actually two thirds of the earth’s water goes to irrigating crops around the world.

Weather is something we do not have much control over, but it can be such a burden for us.  Droughts are causing not only the loss of water, of course, but the growth of food, which then leads to the prices to rise.  Australia was at one time the world’s largest exporter of grain until there was such a small amount of water for their use.  And China, a country that was able to provide for their people, can no longer feed itself.  It can no longer produce all of its own food.  Unfortunately, they have taken a pretty hard hit for this.

The United States, the largest gross exporter of water, is having to cut back on water pumping due to an insufficient amount of water.  Water and agriculture are one thing, but food is another.  While the U.S. has crops that need irrigating, more and more corn is being produced.  The reason for all the production of corn is due to other global issues such as biofuel.  Corn is being converted to ethanol which means even more water is needed.  With ethanol being high in demand, oil prices are rising which has led to food prices to rise.

Maybe we should start to rethink just want is most important for our people and the earth.  Should we expand trade in food exporters from other countries that have a surplus of water?  Should we cut back on biofuel?  Is it necessary that we find ways to conserve water?  I just want to bring these things to your attention.  When there is no water, there is nothing.  There will be no food left.

Pearce says, “I do not believe the earth contains enough water to feed the burgeoning human population”.  There are things out of our control that has caused some of this to happen, such as climate change, but then there are things we can change such as, overconsumption and insufficient use.  Hopefully by bringing this to your attention and giving awareness you can help in the process of conserving more water.

Sources:

Langwith, Jacqueline. Water. Greenhaven: Gale and Greenhaven Press, 2010. Print.

Prohibit the Drip

Water Crisis… when you hear this, you probably think Africa and other third-world countries.  You think how so many underprivileged adults and children die daily due to lack of sufficient water supply.  What about America?  You probably haven’t thought about this.

In recent news, reports suggest that some regions in America are drying up right in front of our eyes.  Hard to believe, I know!  I still cannot surround myself with the reality that America, the leading nation in water supply, could start to experience a water crisis in upcoming years.

The Root suspects that by 2013, 36 states will have water shortages.  Some areas in the Southwest of the United States (California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico) are experiencing this right now.  Lake Mead in Arizona, which currently supplies 22 million people, could possibly dry up in the near future.  Parts of the Colorado River as well are starting to dry out and will soon be forced to shut off pumping.

Water, as some may know, is a scarce resource.  Actually, only 1% of our Earth’s freshwater is easily accessible.  The amount of water is an issue, but the quality poses some concern as well.  Polluted drinking water causes around 20 million Americans to become sick each year.  The water gets contaminated in several ways.  There is runoff from rooftops, streets, concrete, and raw sewage which contain bacteria and chemicals, that get absorbed back into the ground.  This then gets into the water systems, which we have been using for more than 100 years.  Obviously, one could see why this would be a problem.

With outdated machinery, the water systems have a hard time processing all of the pollutants.  Unfortunately, this country is struggling financially and does not have the money to put toward all these new systems.  The concern for clean and safe drinking water is not high on the list of priorities, but it definitely should be.

There are way too many gallons of water being wasted in the United States.  It is said that a family of four uses 400 gallons of water every day.  That is the equivalent of ten full baths.  Since the government cannot find the money or resources to manage the water in our country, it is up to us to conserve as much of it as we can.

We have all heard the tips and tidbits on how to save water on a daily basis and below I have presented a list of these.

 

  1. Turn the water off while you brush your teeth and save over two gallons a minute.
  2. Fix dripping faucets and running toilets. A leaky faucet that drips at a rate of one drop per second can waste up to 2,700 gallons a year.
  3. Save water and money by choosing efficient showerheads, dishwashers, and other appliances. Look for the WaterSense label.
  4. Only run your washing machine and dish washer when they are full.
  5. Dispose of chemicals properly at a hazardous waste drop off center – don’t pour them on the ground, into the sewer, or down the drain.
  6. Avoid using pesticides or herbicides on your yard and garden — the chemicals can contaminate groundwater and streams, and can also hurt kids and pets.
  7. In the yard, use mulch to keep moisture from leaving the soil and minimize the need to water.
  8. If you must water the lawn, water in the early morning or evening, and try to avoid watering on windy days. This will limit the amount of water that is evaporated by the sun or blown onto sidewalks and driveways.
  9. Plant a rain garden to add beauty to your yard, while absorbing and filtering runoff. Water absorbed in a rain garden will filter pollution otherwise headed for streams.
  10. Use a rain barrel to collect rain and help water your plants. Forty percent of the average homeowner’s water use is outdoors. Rain barrels reduce the stress on municipal water systems during the dry, summer months.

“It’s one of those things where if everyone changed just one small habit, we could have a significant impact,” said Gordon from The Root.

Sources:

http://www.theroot.com/views/america-s-water-shortage?page=0,2

http://thewaterproject.org/water_scarcity_in_us.asp

http://www.americanrivers.org/about-rivers/10-ways-to-save water.html?gclid=CIeO462iq64CFcjc4AoddCurSg

 

 

 

 

The World Dried Up

This map represents all the countries of the world and how they are doing on water.  I want to specifically focus on those dark red regions, because these are the people living from day to day with contaminated water.  These are the people suffering the most around the world.  I have done some research on a few of the countries struggling with the water crisis and want to give the facts and real stories of these people.

Bangladesh:

In the 1970s Bangladesh was pretty well off, or so they thought, with the use of sanitary water.  However, in 1993, there was a discovery of large concentrations of arsenic found in the ground water they had been using as their main water source.  This obviously had a huge impact on disease and other health problems occurring in Bangladesh.  In particular, it gave rise to skin disorders and cancers.

The wells were then marked as a sign not to use them anymore.  So the latrines were diminishing and individuals had to defecate out in the open.  Also, going back to the contaminated water sources, such as lakes and rivers, caused even more health problems. A major problem is diarrheal diseases, killing over 100,000 children yearly.

Infant Mortality: 55/1000

Life Expectancy: 65.7 years

Water Supply Coverage: 80%

Sanitation Coverage: 53%

 

Real People:

150 MPH winds, 7 foot tidal waves, more than 3,000 dead and 5,000 missing.  In 2007, Cyclone Sidr crashed the shores of Bangladesh destroying anything and everything in its way.  There were nine million homes diminished and over 1,000 wells destroyed.  The water sources were now contaminated and people were left with nothing.

Ethiopia:

The main source of water in Ethiopia comes from ponds and lakes have been dried up for over 20 years due to droughts causing food shortages and famine.  The children and women walk to the nearest source of water, which typically takes six hours, and fill their jugs with filthy muck.  They will literally go to the pond where there are cows have been standing for days and fill their cans with the same water for drinking later.

All the water in the country is contaminated from environmental waste form rain water washing everything into the streams.  This happens to also be the home of the many mosquitoes in the area.  Due to the lack of water, members of the community suffer from scabies and eye infections, especially in children.  Diarrheal is a major problem and is the leading cause of death of the children in Ethiopia.

Infant Mortality: 109/1000

Life Expectancy: 55 years

Water Supply Coverage: 38%

Sanitation Coverage: 12%

 

Real People:

“It doesn’t look at all like a spring, but it is. Currently it’s a mud pit, visibly contaminated by human feet and animal feces. But at the eye of Gasi spring, for only a split second before mixing with the muck, the water comes out of the ground clean and clear. Pristine.
Yet instead of getting at that pristine water, the women and children of Gasi huddle with yellow and blue Jerry Cans to gather the deadly mix of contaminated water you see here.”

Honduras:

Hurricane Mitch came rolling through Honduras in 1998 and since then, the natives of the country haven’t been well off.  All of the heavy rain caused flooding and landslides, which killed many and left the rest with little clean water.  Of all the water, only 15% is safe to drink.  Most of these people are drinking contaminated water which has lead to even more deaths over the years.  A water-related illness called cholera is on the rise and the mosquitoes living around the water, carrying malaria and dengue fever, are causing more lives to be lost.

*No information found on infant mortality, life expectancy, water supply coverage, or sanitation coverage.

Real People:

“If you’d like a drink in Rio Platano, you’d choose your poison from toxic holes in the ground.  If you wanted to use the toilet, you’d head for the shack on stilts with a hole that drops waste 10 feet below into open marshy ground.  If you wanted to wash your hands, you’d be out of luck.  There is no soap.  If you needed medical attention, forget the clinic.”

There is a small amount of clean water, limited toilets, and absolutely no soap.  All the houses are built on stilts to keep from going under.  The contaminated water covers all of the land of Honduras and if people do not literally drown in it, they will slowly die of its toxins.

Kenya:

Kenya, along with most other countries on the eastern part of Africa, is in a water crisis due to continuous droughts.  The untreated water has caused huge problems.  Only about half of the population has access to clean drinking water.  Getting to the water sources prevents women from pursuing their time in any other activities, where they could be making a little money, and prevents most girls from attending school.

Infant Mortality: 68/1000

Life Expectancy: 64 years

Water Supply Coverage: 88%

Sanitation Coverage: 31%

Real People:

Dominic Mosa gives a tour around the Mogiato Health clinic in Kenya.  Starting in the laundry room, the sheets and gowns are washing in brown, murky water.  The water comes from the muddy river about a mile north of the clinic.  This is the same water that is used for cooking, cleaning, and drinking in the homes of many villages.  As Mosa enters one of the hospital rooms, he points out that the beige sheets were at one point white, but havn’t been that way in a very long time.

Mogiato Health clinic is like many other clinics throughout Kenya.  They all use contaminated water for treating patients.  Shockingly, some patients will only be seen if they retrieve five gallons of water and bring it with them to the hospital.  These individuals cannot even get clean water for treatment.  Most of them are put in the clinics because of typhoid, worms in the intestines, dysentery, and cholera, all coming from the contaminated water.

Uganda:

Uganda’s water supply has improved in the last 10 years making it accessible to 67% and sanitation is up to 48%.  This is great news! However, that 33% of the population is still drinking and using dirty water.  There water comes from open wells and streams.  There are not many toilets for use, so many latrines are overcrowded and people are taught to defecate in the open (causing sanitation problems).

Individuals can purchase safe tap water; but those living in unplanned communities have to pay three times as much for the water than those in developed communities.  This is why most of them gather water from nearby streams.  This causes many diseases, such as outbreaks of cholera and dysentery.

Infant Mortality: 130/1000

Life Expectancy: 53 years

Water Supply Coverage: 67%

Sanitation Coverage: 48%

Real People:

Helen Apio, a woman of Uganda, would wake up early in the morning and set out on her journey with two jerry cans.  She would walk up to a mile and a half to obtain the water her and her family so badly needed.  She would have to wait sometimes hours in line for clean water.  If she did not want to wait, she would go collect the contaminated water from the pond.

She would say, “How should I use this water today? Should I water my garden so we can grow food? Should I wash my children’s uniforms? Should I use it to cook a meal? Should we drink this water?”  That was ten gallons of water a day to disperse between herself, her two children and her husband.

 

Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, and Uganda are just a select few of the countries trying to survive off the resources they have.  These explain just a few of the stories of those struggling the most in the world water crisis.  Many organizations including, WaterAid America, Water.org, and Charity: water have gathered donations and have dug wells in these five areas, as well as many others.  The people caught in this are definitely better off currently than a few years ago.  Though, these countries are still pretty bad off.  Each one of these individuals needs our help.  They need clean and safe drinking water; and they deserve it.

Unfortunately, these are countries that have poor management, under-investment, deforestation, and polluted water, and this they cannot help.  We though, can help.  With support and dedication people who are more fortunate than these could try and save a community with just a small donation.  Any little bit helps and why not be a part of something that is bettering the world and the people living in it.

Sources:

http://water.org/

http://www.wateraid.org/international/what_we_do/where_we_work/default.asp

http://www.charitywater.org/projects/fromthefield/index.php

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Think Outside the Sink

Just imagine for a moment what life would be like without clean, filtered drinking water.  If we are thirsty, what do we do… go get a glass of cold refreshing water.  When we wake up in the morning what are we most likely to do… jump in the shower.  The car is dirty… why not get the hose or go through the car wash.  Oh yes, and let’s not forget on those hot summer days when we dive into a swimming pool full of water.  It is just unimaginable to think about a day without water.

Now take a moment and try to put yourself in the shoes of children and adults around the world that struggle with drinking water on a daily basis.  They go to bed each night with the hope that tomorrow will be the day they get the uncontaminated water they need.  Typically what happens though is they wake up and do the same routine they have done since they can remember.  They get their jerry cans and walk to the closest water source; this being the creek, the river, or even swamps.  It takes an average of three to four walking miles to retrieve the dirty, unsanitary muck.  Everyday this happens and takes away from the children going to school.  They are unable to get the education they deserve.

This is a huge problem for many children of the world.  50% of all schools around the world do not have access to sterile drinking water.  To give a rough estimate that’s 884 million, which is about one in eight people.  Many children spend hours each day collecting water instead of going to school, typically the girls.  The ones who do go to school spend much of their time at home sick due to water related illnesses.  Some children just do not attend at all because of lack of time and work.  Without latrines or water to wash with, many girls drop out of school when they begin puberty.

Obviously, this is not just a crisis for the children, but for all people of these parts of the world.  The children, though, are the future for education to bring about a better life.  WaterAid (a non-profit charity organization) is committed to bringing about clean water and also functional toilets.  There are so many benefits to getting clean water awareness and giving lessons on maintaining good hygiene in the schools.  Water wells for safe water can improve so much.  The water wells will be installed in communities where the distance is shorter meaning less time and less pain.  With this, children can spend more time in schools and girls will also be able to attend.  More teachers will be willing to come and teach in schools where there is safe water.

It is so important for these children to learn all the ways in which to live a healthier life.  The clean water will also cut down on illnesses, improving their performance at school.  They will be taught how to properly wash their hands and how to use the bathrooms.  With all the education provided for the children the goal is for them to go home and teach their family members the importance of good hygiene and to keep the process on going for years to come.

If we can help donate to the water crisis happening today, the children in these developing countries can stay educated and help improve living conditions for generations to come.  Just imagine that with a little help, the children can be cured and will have a brighter future.

Sources:

http://www.charitywater.org/blog/category/countries/countries-ethiopia/

http://www.wateraidamerica.org/what_we_do/statistics.aspx?gclid=CL39vtbjia4CFacQNAodZ2Mg3w

http://www.wateraidamerica.org/what_we_do/children_and_wateraid/default.aspx

Charity: water

Charity: water is a non-profit organization that raises awareness and money for clean and safe drinking water in several developing countries.  Almost a billion people on the planet do not have access to clean drinking water.  “Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.”  Women and children of villages walk an average of three miles a day to retrieve drinking water that weighs close to 40 pounds a can.  They must make good use of the little water they are given.  Some days it is used for drinking, other days it is used for watering plants and if they are lucky they may be able to bathe.

The mission of Charity: water is to bring sanitized drinking water to villages around the world.  Already they have managed to dig and drill wells, while also providing rehabilitations, spring protections, rainwater catchments and BioSand filters.  There is a water crisis going on in the world today and with our help and charitable giving’s we can provide to those less fortunate than us.

Charity: water supplied their first one million people in 2009.  With their great success there is still so much to accomplish.  The charity is motivated and states that they will not stop until every person has safe water to drink.

 

Check out the website below and see what you can do to help this cause.  Make a decision to support charity: water.  A donation of just $20 could potentially save a life.

http://www.charitywater.org/