Travel has a way of opening your eyes to the plights of other human beings. Three of the countries that I’ve visited, Indonesia, Iraq, and Australia have a common problem – a lack of clean water.
Over 100 million people in Indonesia lack access to safe water and more than 70 percent of the country’s 220 million population relies on water obtained from potentially contaminated sources.
Clean drinking water is an increasingly scarce resource for millions of people in Iraq, according to a new report released by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, which supply most of Iraq’s drinking water, are slowly dwindling and in some areas can no longer be used as a reliable source.
I was surprised to find out about Australia’s water problems because I figured that their water infrastructure would be similar to the United States’. However, years of severe drought and other issues, have left Australia with a water shortage that the government is diligently working to correct.
We Americans take water for granted. The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world. To put things into perspective, a five-minute shower will use about 10 gallons of water. Now imagine using that same amount to bathe, wash your clothes, cook your meals and quench your thirst.
I constantly implore my family to use less water and learn the value of conservation. With water use in the United States increasing every year, many regions are starting to feel the pressure. At least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013, even under non-drought conditions (from Wikipedia – “Water Supply and Sanitation in the United States” 10-15-10).
People around the world may share many differences, but our need for clean water is common. If you would like to learn more about current water crisis and do your part to help, visit one of these organizations:
- charity: water – a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.
- Water.org – a U.S.-based nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries.
- Generosity Water – a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the clean water crisis in developing countries, one community at a time. Through innovative awareness campaigns, strategic implementation and in depth accountability, we hope to inspire people to think globally and live generously.
- Water for People – an organization that works to build a world where all people have access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and where no one suffers or dies from a water- or sanitation-related disease.
- American Rivers – the leading conservation organization standing up for healthy rivers so communities can thrive. American Rivers protects and restores America’s rivers for the benefit of people, wildlife, and nature.
- The Water Project – a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that’s bringing relief to communities around the world who suffer needlessly from a lack of access to clean water.
- Ryan’s Well – In 1999, seven year old Ryan Hreljac’s first well was built in a Ugandan village. Now the Ryan’s Well Foundation has grown into a family of people committed to delivering access to safe water, as an essential way to improve the lives of people in the developing world.
Together, we can end the crisis and enjoy a healthier, cleaner world.