Over 1 billion people live without clean water. As the leading cause of malnutrition, loss of life and the erosion of human rights, water poverty is an issue that should be at the forefront of all international initiatives to help disadvantaged people. Access to clean water is a basic human right that people in the UK and the west take for granted. In parts of Asia and Africa, access to clean water is seen as a privilege not a right; the poorest in society miss out and their lives are a daily struggle because they aren’t adequately hydrated. Here are some of the myriad ways that water poverty negatively impacts poor communities.
Water Poverty Causes Other Insufficiencies
Water and poverty are bound up together. When an individual is identified as living below the poverty line, limited access to clean water will have been one of the determining factors. Having access to an adequate supply of water means having enough for drinking, bathing, cooking and cleaning. When water is limited, each of these things becomes impossible which leads to extreme poverty.
Getting Water Dominates the Day
It’s not uncommon for waterholes to dry up. This means that families have to walk for hours to the nearest waterhole before joining queues with hundreds of others waiting to fill their containers with brown water. After filling their containers with 5 gallons of water- the equivalent of a large full suitcase- they have to carry this water on their heads all the way home, taking hours out of their day and pushing aside all other activities like work and school.
Economic Impact of Wasting Water
Water poverty compromises children’s access to education. Time spent carrying water is time spent missing school. Without enough water, children aren’t able to perform at their optimal level in school, reducing an already low quality of education. Many women spend so much of their day carrying water that they have no time for the cash-generating work which can help lift families out of total poverty.
Every minute a child dies of a water-related disease. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions. Unless we do something about it!
Evolve’s technologies support initiatives that aim to tackle water poverty; access to clean water and sanitation will free up time and enable mothers to provide their children with a healthy start in life. Read our upcoming blogs and posts to see how we are changing this dynamic and supporting local communities to lift themselves from water poverty.