Water solutions benefit not only individuals but also overall economies.
On a personal level, access to clean drinking water solutions helps many individuals. It frees up women and children from multiple hours that they would otherwise spend walking far distances to gather water. Safe drinking water improves the health of children and adults. Good health allows children’s brains and bodies to develop so they can receive a solid education. It also helps parents hold down better-paying jobs to support their families.
Illnesses from contaminated water and poor sanitation and hygiene end up costing families money and productivity. In Africa, poor people spend at least a third of their wages treating waterborne diseases, such as malaria and diarrhea.1 Of course, this number doesn’t figure in their human suffering or their lost income when they’re too sick to work.
For the greater good
On a regional scale, access to water services and basic sanitation generates benefits that “are immediate and long-term” states the World Health Organization.2 Water solutions decrease medical costs. They also give people more time to be productive, both in school and at work.
Better health and productivity of workers attracts business investors, which benefits both the region and the world. As a result, countries with improved water and sanitation have more robust economic growth.3
The World Health Organization states that the total economic benefit of improved water services would be $84 billion annually.4 China alone lost $13.4 billion in total welfare from the impact polluted water had on people’s health in the late 1990s.5
Water solutions save lives. Here are just three ways access to clean water and sanitation reduces illness:
Basic sanitation reduces schistosomiasis, a disease caused by parasitic worms which thrive in reservoirs and improper irrigation. About 160 million people have schistosomiasis, which causes tens of thousands of deaths annually.6
Safe water and better hygiene could reduce trachoma deaths by 27%. Right now, 6 million people are visually impaired, and 146 million face blindness due to trachoma,7 a bacterial infection of the eye.
1.8 million people die annually from diarrheal disease, and 90% are children younger than 5. Clean water can reduce this by up to 25%; proper sanitation can save 32% of lives, and good hygiene can reduce diarrheal deaths by up to 45%.8
Here are a few solutions to the global water crisis:
The water shortage problem and solution: Education, conservation and infrastructure
While some nations use water to grow grass, others don’t have enough to irrigate farmlands for food.
Educating everyone about the best ways to use the precious resource of water is important. Residents in developed nations can learn to conserve water. Leaders of underdeveloped countries can improve their economies by adding infrastructure to deliver safe water to homes.
Finding sustainable solutions to providing the world’s population with clean, accessible water is paramount.
Water pollution and water solutions through technology
Currently, 80% of wastewater on the planet remains untreated. This means toxins, ranging from human waste to industrial discharge. flows into our rivers and oceans.9 Plastics and medications are also contributing to water pollution in large quantities.
A third of all rivers are polluted with “severe” pathogens. One seventh of our rivers have “severe” organic pollution, resulting from agricultural runoff, like nitrogen and phosphorus.10
The fashion industry alone generates about 20% of the world’s wastewater. It dumps 500,000 tons of synthetic microfibers into the sea annually.11
Poor sanitation is another huge contributing factor. There are plenty of solutions for this:
GFA World builds outdoor toilets for families to reduce the spread of debilitating diseases.
The UN Environment Programme is working with other organizations to build affordable sewage systems in places like Tanzania. Small-scale treatment plants provide basic sanitation and reduce environmental contamination. These systems can treat 1,000 cubic meters of wastewater daily with minimal—or no—power. They don’t require much maintenance, and construction and operating costs are lower than centralized systems.
While governments can greatly impact water and sanitation services, there is much more that can be done. GFA World is part of the clean water solutions that change the lives of families, and villages, one project at a time.
In the last 20 years, GFA has drilled more than 30,000 Jesus Wells, providing access to clean drinking water solutions. These deep wells have delivered clean water, close-by, to about 9 million people for just $5 per person. Another access to clean drinking water solutions is providing water filters. In 2019, we provided 12,243 free BioSand water filters to families in 16 Asian nations.Learn more about the global water crisis
1 “Generating Economic Benefits with Improved Water Resources Management and Services.” The World Health Organization. http://web.archive.org/web/20211127203537/https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/watandmacr2.pdf. Accessed February 24, 2022.
10 “Tackling Global Water Pollution.” UN Environment Programme. https://www.unep.org/explore-topics/water/what-we-do/tackling-global-water-pollution. Accessed February 25, 2022.
11 “Innovation Brings Water Sanitation to Low-income Communities in Tanzania.” UN Environment Programme. https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/innovation-brings-water-sanitation-low-income-communities-tanzania. Accessed Febraury 25, 2022.