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The Growing Water Emergency
How it affects billions of people - and you

We need clean water to live. And we can no longer take it for granted.

A growing challenge
Getting clean water has always been a challenge. The Romans had their magnificent aqueducts. Developed countries such as the USA have complex water systems. Even here, pollution and growing demand create shortages.

In developing countries, the challenges are worse.

The United Nations’ Human Development project notes that:

In a world of unprecedented wealth, almost 2 million children die each year for want of a glass of clean water and adequate sanitation. Millions of women and young girls are forced to spend hours collecting and carrying water, restricting their opportunities and their choices. And water-borne infectious diseases are holding back poverty reduction and economic growth in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Everywhere but scarce
The problem of access to water is compounded by the increasing scarcity of fresh water on the planet. Water, not oil, is the world’s most precious commodity.

A report found at http://www.greenchipstocks.com/aqx_p/4615 states:

Less than 2% of the water on earth is fresh water. … if all the world's water were in a one-gallon jug, accessible fresh water wouldn't even account for a teaspoon of it.

It is estimated that by 2025, over half of the world will face freshwater shortages. This will increase to 75% by 2050.

Pollution and more
In developing countries, the problems of pollution, improper waste disposal and poor water management are worse than here.

According to a John Hopkins study, all of India’s major rivers and three-quarters of China’s major rivers are heavily polluted and cannot sustain fish. Polluted waters contribute to outbreaks of diseases - cholera, malaria, dysentery, typhoid fever and diarrhea, to name a few. Sickness makes it much harder for people to lift themselves from poverty.

Steps toward a solution
The UN addresses the looming water shortage crisis in the Human Development Report. It calls for nations to implement policies encouraging water access and sanitation. It is clear that any solution to the water crisis will be a costly, but necessary investment.

Currently the American government is considering such a policy. Bill H.R. 80: Global Water Access and Equity Act is in the U.S. House of Representatives. It aims to ensure that developing countries have affordable and equitable access to safe water and sanitation. Passing this Bill will solidify the American government’s responsibility in aiding global water access.

What you can do
It’s easy for you to help support this bill.

Finding a solution is the responsibility of all nations. And it can start with you:

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by Lawrence Kreger with additions and editing by Audrey Lim, Hearts & Minds volunteers
Copyrights: Entire website 1997 - 2015 by Hearts and Minds Network, Inc., This web page - http://www.heartsandminds.org/poverty/articles/water.htm online July 16, 2011, latest changes July 16, 2011


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