With World Water Week in the rearview mirror but still on our minds, it’s important to review why there was a global decision to dedicate a week to this issue. Many of us were taught in school that water was undoubtedly a renewable resource, but in today’s world, that claim is now being contested. As our supply of groundwater steadily decreases and our natural waters (both fresh and salt) continue to be polluted, the prospect of ever-flowing clean water is one that shrinks more and more each year. This is why the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), created the Stockholm Water Symposium in 1991. Little did they know that this symposium would snowball into the World Water Week phenomenon we know today. In 2017, that translated to 3,300 individuals and around 380 convening organizations from 135 countries who gathered to debate and develop solutions to our global water issues. Although this participation is extraordinary, we still have a ways to go before we reach at least one of the United Nations’ eight ‘Clean Water And Sanitation’ goals.
According to the World Health Organization and the United Nations;
Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with feces.
844 million people lack even a basic drinking-water service, including 159 million people who are dependent on surface water.
Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of the global population and is projected to rise. Over 1.7 billion people are currently living in river basins where water use exceeds recharge.
By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.
Additionally, a timely piece written by Forbes emphasizes how water scarcity negatively impacts the global economy and jeopardizes access to certain foods. As this article points out, lack of access to sustainable, clean water is not only a concern of developing nations. It is something that can impact people across the globe. However, the effect is greatest in the areas with grave political corruption and inadequate resource distribution.
As Forbes states, “hotter drier conditions also pose profound societal risks, especially in developing regions like Sub-Saharan Africa where food security can be an everyday concern” which is why it’s one of the most affected regions of the global water crisis. It is these facts that continue to motivate Well Aware to take action against the harsh realities people in East Africa struggle with every day without access to clean water. We focus on sustainability - working to transform the lives of current generations, while also empowering future generations with water sources that will last.
However, we must come together on a global, cross-sector basis if we hope to truly combat the world water crisis. We have a lot of work to do if, by 2030, we are to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all. Although water scarcity is continuing to rise, there is still a great opportunity for improvement in how this work is done, and we must radically change how we address water issues in order to sustain ourselves and the planet.
This is why World Water Week exists - for focused conversation and awareness. But, it is something that should be on our minds throughout the entire year.