Some time ago, I mentioned in passing that we are running out of water, fresh, drinking water that is. The remark made in the wider context of problems facing the developing world was mocked by a bunch of juvenile students on a discussion forum. “Yeah, right all the rain’s drying up, heh, heh,” they snickered in a Beavis & Butthead style. Of course, they were totally missing the point, just because there was plenty of rain filling the nice big reservoirs in their part of the world doesn’t mean that everyone everywhere has access to such wetness.
Indeed, roughly one billion people lack access to safe drinking water and more than a third of the world’s population lives without adequate sanitation and hygiene. That’s a big problem. Not only do water and sanitation issues put health at risk – particularly among children – they also impact the environment, development, education, poverty and political stability. If we think the territorial fighting that starts because of fuel supply are a problem now, give it a few more years and we are likely to see enormous numbers of environmental refugees crossing borders and water shortage will be the war cry of the future.
Today is World Water Day. A diverse coalition of nearly 30 organizations from the water, sanitation, hygiene and health sectors has come together to call for stronger commitments and more robust action to ensure universal access to safe water and sanitation everywhere they are needed.
Find out more about today’s and tomorrow’s activities here: http://www.waterday.org and here http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday