While we wish that we had 12 fun facts about water and our use of water on Earth, reality dictates that we share a more somber picture today. So, for World Water Day 2016, we present some shocking statistics from “12 Facts And Things To Know” about water:
- It is estimated that approximately 1.8 billion people around the world do not have access to safe water.
- Globally, one out of every three schools lacks access to safe water and does not have adequate sanitation.
- In low and middle income countries, one out of every three healthcare facilities lacks a safe water source.
- The World Economic Forum in January 2015 ranked the water crisis as the No. 1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation).
- More than 160 million instances of children suffering from stunting and chronic malnutrition can get traced back to a lack of safe, clean drinking water and poor (if any) sanitation.
- The deadly combination of water-related diseases (like diarrhea), poor hygiene and lack of sanitation takes an estimated 840,000 lives each year.
- Rural areas of the world are home to more than 80 percent of people who don’t have access to “improved” water.
- A third of the world’s population lacks access to a proper toilet. By comparison, fewer people lack cellphones than toilets.
- Around the world each day, women and children spend 125 million hours collecting fresh water for their families. It is not uncommon for individuals to spend as much as 6 hours a day on the task of collecting fresh water.
- If you watch a clock for 1 1/2 minutes, a child has died from a water-related disease.
- Implementing universal access to safe water and sanitation would result in more than an estimated $18 billion in economic benefits EACH YEAR just from the prevention of deaths alone. That would be a return of about $4 for every dollar spent to create the access to safe drinking water that prevented the deaths.
- If the planet as a whole does not change the (gluttonous, evil) ways it manages water on the planet, the amount of safe water available for use could drop by around 40 percent in the next 15 years.
Wow. If that list did not alarm you, then read it and re-read it until common sense kicks in and you feel a chill down your back. Our water situation looks bleak and unless something changes — meaning unless WE make changes — the situation will only get worse.
Right now at this very moment some of you reading this are thinking, “I’m so glad that sort of horrible stuff isn’t happening near me.” Well, you’re WRONG because it IS happening near you. Just ask Flint, Michigan residents, folks living in communities where the water wells started running dry years ago, folks living near coal ash dumps in North Carolina, folks in Texas whose water contains frightening arsenic levels, folks who lived on or near military bases whose fuel depots leaked in ‘secret’ for many years… and the list keeps getting longer.
What we do with the water today dictates explicitly how much water we will have tomorrow.