Vision: a world where all people have access to safe drinking water and sanitation; a world
where no one suffers or dies from a water- or sanitation-related disease.
Today, 1 out of every 6 people on Earth lacks access to clean water —
and 2 out of every five people lack access to basic sanitation. As a result,
water-related diseases cause the deaths of over 5 million people each year
— mostly children.
THE 3 MOST URGENT CONSEQUENCES OF THE WATER CRISIS
Disease and death: 5 million people die each year from water-related
diseases, mostly children under the age of five.
Lost time and potential: Collecting water is a difficult and time-intensive
task, leaving women with little or no time to manage their households or
participate in income-generating work. Young girls often help their mothers
collect water, making them unable to attend schools.
Wasted resources: People without access to clean water spend a high
percentage of their household income on medical treatment to combat
frequent water-related illnesses, making it difficult for them to save and
improve their quality of life. The World Health Organization estimates that if
everyone had access to water and sanitation, over $11 billion would be saved
in treatment costs annually, and people would gain 5.5 billion productive
days each year.
Fast Facts about Water Security
- Today, 1.1 billion people ─ one in six ─ do not have access to a safe and
adequate water supply. This number could increase to 2.3 billion by 2025.
(United Nations Development Programme, PlayPumps International)
- Most of our freshwater is used to grow food and other agricultural crops.
Worldwide, agriculture accounts for 80% of global water consumption, and in
Africa and Asia it accounts for 90%. To feed a growing world population, it is
estimated that 14-17% more fresh water will be needed for irrigation by 2030.
(United Nations Environment Programme)
- Of all water on Earth, 97.5% is salt water. Freshwater accounts for only 2.5%
of the earth’s water, and only a small fraction of this amount is available for
human use. Some 70% is frozen in the polar icecaps and the other 30% is
mostly present as soil moisture or lies in underground aquifers. In the end, less
than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is
readily accessible in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and in underground sources
shallow enough to be tapped at affordable cost. In other words, if all the earth’s
water fit in a gallon jug, available fresh water would equal just over a
tablespoon. (World Health Organization)
- Millions of women and young girls spend hours everyday walking to collect
water from distant, often polluted water sources. This chore keeps girls out of
school and restricts women’s choices and opportunities. (United Nations
- 1.8 million people die every year from diarrheal diseases (including cholera),
most of whom are children under 5 in developing countries. Nearly 90% of these
deaths are attributed to unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, or poor
hygiene. Almost half of these deaths are preventable; access to safe water and
improved sanitation and hygiene, such as washing one’s hands with soap, could
save at least 1 million lives per year. (World Health Organization, Healthy
Environments for Children Alliance)
- In the U.S., the average person uses 100-176 gallons of water at home each
day. The average African family uses about 5 gallons of water each day.
- Climate change is expected to account for about 20% of the global increase in
water scarcity this century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) predicts that global warming will alter precipitation patterns around the
world, melt mountain glaciers, and worsen the extremes of droughts and floods.
(World Resources Institute)
Who has the most creative idea for
solving the water crisis?
Meet Ned Breslin, the CEO of Water for People. He's helping local
communities in Malawi get the clean water they need in a truly
innovative way: with a special merry-go-round called a PlayPump.
How does the PlayPump work? Ned explains:
"While children have fun spinning on the PlayPump merry-go-round,
clean water is pumped from underground into a 2,500-liter tank,
standing seven meters above the ground.
A simple tap makes it easy for adults and children to draw water.
Excess water is diverted from the storage tank back down into the
The water storage tank provides a rare opportunity to advertise in
outlaying communities. All four sides of the tank are leased as
billboards, with two sides for consumer advertising and the other two
sides for health and educational messages. The revenue generated by
this unique model pays for pump maintenance."
There are many more projects like the PlayPump. Your EVOKE
mission is to discover at least one of them.
Who else has a truly creative idea for solving the water crisis?
Find a great, big idea and share it.
Here are some places to start your investigation:
Water 1st International – www.water1st.org
Water.org Projects – water.org/projects/
Water for People – waterforpeople.org
Water Projects on School Grounds – www.ecoschools.com/water/water_wsidebar.html
Pick YOUR favorite, awe-inspiring clean water project — write
ACT (upon what you have learned. Get out in the world and do
something small to help solve a real problem ) – and IMAGINE!
(your creativity and tell a story about the future you want to