Clean water: the essential but dwindling natural resource


We are entering a water crisis. By 2025, our world is projected to have at least three billion people who lack access to fresh water, which is an absolute necessity for human survival.

Although water is an everyday occurrence for many, it is a scarcity in the lives of people halfway around the world. There are many places where one must walk an average of four hours per day just to get water. The sad part is that after all their hard work, the water they collect will likely not be clean, will probably carry diseases, and could potentially cause death. People living in such conditions sacrifice so much to gain very little water. They sacrifice their health, their time, their education, and so much more just so they can survive and support their families.

The World Health Organization estimates that the average person requires 20 liters of clean water per day for both drinking and hygiene purposes. Comparatively, in the U.S., the average American uses roughly 260 liters of fresh water per day (flushing toilets, washing clothes, showers, running faucets, leakage, drinking water), which is thirteen times more than is necessary to support our more luxurious lifestyles.

However, access to freshwater isn’t just a global health issue for people but also for the environment as our consumption and disruption for water continues to grow. Thousands of liters of water are used to produce oil. Then, later in the process, that oil will produce contaminated wastewater that could affect water aquifers. The contaminated wastewater could leak into the bodies of water and, from there, impact the whole ecosystem.

Because water is so readily available to us in the U.S. (or more so than in other areas of the world), it is often the resource that we take most for granted. The first step to changing our pattern of overconsumption is awareness and using the newfound knowledge to live more consciously and sustainably.

Some people question the urgency of clean water, saying that we aren’t abusing our access and that our consumption is perfectly reasonable. The flaw of their claim is that our consumption as increased six-fold, sometimes beyond reason.

Yearly, the U.S. required 17 million barrels of oil to make plastic water bottles that people drink from, and for each liter of bottled water, three liters of water are used. Additionally, 69% of the global freshwater supply is directed toward agriculture, whereas only 10% goes directly to us.

Various water support groups are trying to turn the world around for the better and promote sustainable living by making water more available and raise awareness. But the question is, how far can we get as a society if our support and aid in these issues is completely dependent on the underwhelming support from populations?

We are the greatest catalysts for change in this. We are the ones who can make a difference halfway across the world where people are struggling the survive without access to water. We are the ones who can combat the water crisis.