Clean water is running out. Our rivers and our lakes are vanishing at an alarming pace. If not vanishing, they are being polluted to the extent that we or no other species can depend on it any longer. Almost 2/3rd of the world’s population will be ‘water-stressed’ by 2025 due to conditions and our carelessness today. Here are a few facts about the water crisis in the world:
#1. Worldwide, almost 1.1 billion people lack access to safe and potable water – that’s almost 1 in 6 people while 2.8 billion people are affected by the shortage of water.
#2. While the continent of Africa is worst affected with almost 358 million people without clean water access, this figure is merely 9 million in all the developed countries combined. (USA, Canada, all European countries, Japan, Russia, Australia and New Zealand)
#3. 82% people living in the rural area lack adequate access to water while it is only 18% in urban areas.
#4. Children and women worldwide spend around 140 million hours collecting water: that’s almost building twenty Empire State buildings everyday.
India loses 73 million working days annually.
#5. In underdeveloped and developing countries, almost 1 billion women and children travel almost 6 km daily to collect water for the family which takes untold amount of time which could be better utilised in an income generating job, caring for the family or attaining education.
Women and Children in Africa use such Jerry Cans to get water; when full it weighs 40 pounds. Carrying it for miles on the back leads to serious medical problems.
#6. Every year, almost $24 billion is lost economically worldwide, while gathering water.
#7. Around 2.5 billion people have inadequate access to sanitation and hence everyday, more than 2,300 people die due to waterborne diseases.
#8. If proper water facilities, sanitation and hygiene is provided worldwide then the burden of diseases could be decreased by 10% globally.
#9. Annually, 443 million school hours are lost due to water borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid etc.
Researches have shown that for every 10% increase of women literacy there is 0.3% increase in the national economy.
#10. On an average, if $1 is invested towards water crisis in the world, we would get a return of $4.
If you promise your 60 Rs to Water Conservation and Crisis Troubleshoot NGOs, a person in Africa would get water for almost a year! (In Pic: Water stored in containers in Saudi Arabia)
#11. On the other hand, almost $260 billion is lost annually due to shortage of water and sanitation facilities.
A boy pouring out heavily polluted water from a stream in Cape Town, SA
#12. Agriculture and irrigation constitute the largest ratio of the fresh water usage: almost 70% and up-to 90% in the developing countries.
Water security is a must for agrarian economies like India
Simply put, it takes 1-2 tonnes of water to grow 1 kg cereal and 5000 liters for a kg of rice.
#13. In poor countries, almost 8 of 10 hospital beds are filled with people suffering from illnesses related to water crisis and sanitation.
Man collecting water from Citarum River in Indonesia. Such waters are contaminated with heavy metal and pesticides, which would lead to serious and fatal medical conditions.
#14. 1 in 5 deaths of children below five is due to water crisis around the world.
#15. Almost 50% schools in the developing countries have less or no water, and sanitation access leading to high dropout rates – especially in girls.
Lack of water has forced many schools in India to shut the toilets
#16. While a single flush of a toilet uses 8 litres of water, a single Sunday newspaper uses 300 litres of water and it takes almost 11,000 litres of water to make roughly 450 grams of coffee.
While you are sipping a cup of coffee, many in the regions where it is grown are suffering from acute shortage of water
#17. The amount of water you spend enjoying a 5-minute shower is almost equal to the total amount of water a slum dweller has.
#20. A dripping tap can waste up to 20,000 litres of water in a year.
#18. American houses use eight times more water than Indian households, and if the entire population of the world is to be provided the American and European water luxury, it would take 2.5 Earths to do so.
Alas, we’ve got only one Earth.
#19. The worst affected region of the world is the Sub Saharan desert in Africa where 37% of all the affected people reside; less than 1 in 3 have access to a toilet, and the chance of a child dying of due to diarrhoea is 500 times more than that in Europe.
Annually it spends 40 billion hours searching for water – more than France’s total labour!
#20. Only 6% of international aid goes towards bettering water and sanitation infrastructure.
The amount spent by India is disturbingly low
#21. Almost 90% of wastewater in developing countries flows untreated into rivers, lakes and coastal zones: threatening health, food security and access to safe drinking water.
Oshiwara River, Mumbai
#22. 1.6 billion people live in areas where there is water, but they can’t afford to drink it.
#23. 22 of 32 major Indian cities face daily water shortage.
Water Problems are rapidly rising in cities like Delhi
#24. Saudi Arabia has given up on growing wheat, due to shortage of water and will be 100 percent dependent on wheat imports by the year 2016.
#25. 40% of children in Africa and India have their growth stunted due to poor water quality.
Lack of water and thus food leading to severe malnutrition in African Children
#26. While the water table is almost dropping by 1 metre in China annually, 80% of its rivers have become so horribly polluted that the rivers no longer support any life forms.
#27. Ganga and Yamuna are consistently ranked in the list of top 10 most polluted rivers around the world.
The “Holy” Ganges
Over 400 million Indians are dependent on both these rivers combined.
Facts Sources: Youth Connect WebSite