Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.
Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable as their bodies aren't strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. The UN predicts that one-tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation.
But water moves beyond just a human rights issue. It's an environmental issue, an animal welfare issue, a sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, deserving of a global conversation.
That's what this year's Blog Action Day is all about.
The Texas Observer -- specifically, Forrest Wilder -- has done the best job of blogging this topic locally. Herre are some of his most recent postings:
They're Stealin' Our Water, Pa. Say It Ain't So.
The Late Great Ogallala Aquifer
The End of the Hill Country
There's Something in the Water
A 'Partial Victory' for Texas Streams
Texas Cloverleaf's contribution is about water in the Barnett Shale. TxSharon at Bluedaze has 68 posts on that subject. More from a global POV...
- A Human Right: In July, to address the water crisis, the United Nations declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right over. But we are far from implementing solutions to secure basic access to safe drinking water. More Info »
- 40 Billion Hours: African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink. More Info »
- 38,000 Children a Week: Every week, nearly 38,000 children under the age of 5 die from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions. More Info »
- Wars Over Water: Many scholars attribute the conflict in Darfur at least in part to lack of access to water. A report commissioned by the UN found that in the 21st century, water scarcity will become one of the leading causes of conflict in Africa. More Info »
- Cell Phones vs. Toilets: Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets, but many more have access to a cell phone. More Info »
- Food Footprint: It takes 24 liters of water to produce one hamburger. That means it would take over 19.9 billion liters of water to make just one hamburger for every person in Europe. More Info »
- Technology Footprint: The shiny new iPhone in your pocket requires half a liter of water to charge. That may not seem like much, but with over 80 million active iPhones in the world, that’s 40 million liters to charge those alone. More Info »
- Fashion Footprint: That cotton t-shirt you’re wearing right now took 1,514 liters of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 6,813 liters. More Info »
- Bottled Water Footprint: The US, Mexico and China lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled. More Info »
- Waste Overflow: Every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water sources. This not only negatively impacts the environment but also harms the health of surrounding communities. More Info »
- Polluted Oceans: Death and disease caused by polluted coastal waters costs the global economy $12.8 billion a year. More Info »
- Uninhabitable Rivers: Today, 40% of America’s rivers and 46% of America’s lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life. More Info »
- Building Wells: Organizations like Water.org and charity: water are leading the charge in bringing fresh water to communities in the developing world. More Info »
- Technology for Good: Do you want to measure how much water it took to make your favorite foods? There’s an app for that. More Info »
- Conservation Starts at Home: The average person uses 465 liters of water per day. Find out how much you use and challenge your readers to do that same. More Info »
- Keeping Rivers Clean: We can all take small steps to help keep pollution out of our rivers and streams, like correctly disposing of household wastes. More Info »
- Drop the Bottle: Communities around the world are taking steps to reduce water bottle waste by eliminating bottled water. More Info »
- Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools: Students in developing countries lose 443 million school days each year due to diseases associated with the lack of water, sanitation and hygiene. Repeated episodes of diarrhea and worm infestations diminish a child’s ability to learn and impair cognitive development. More Info »