Water is one of the most important resources for human beings. Water has the ability to effect all levels of society including the individual, the household, and the community as a whole.
Nearly one billion people live today without access to safe water. That’s almost one out of nine people without our most basic need. People in the developing world have water, but it’s not safe to drink. Water has a profound impact on human development, here’s why:
On average, humans can live 3-5 days without water. Often, people in the developing world without a reliable source of water will turn to unsafe resources because they don’t have a choice. This contributes to the spread of waterborne diseases such as typhoid fever, worms, cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea. These diseases and illnesses are preventable and treatable. Waterborne sicknesses are the leading cause of disease and death in the world.
Available clean water provides a greater potential for women and children to attend school and earn an education, increasing their prosperity, power and influence in their communities, literacy, hygiene, security, and equality.
African women are disproportionally burdened by sourcing and gathering of water. In many African societies, women are seen as the collectors and guardians of water. It is because of this traditional gender role that women spend around 60% of each day collecting water or gathering firewood to burn to clean the water.
Poverty is directly related to the accessibility of clean drinking water. A lack of water and financial resources creates a poverty trap and effects all societal levels. In the slums of developing countries, the poor typically pay five to ten times more per unit of water than do people with access to piped water. The social and economic consequences of a lack of clean water penetrate into realms of education, opportunities for gainful employment, health, agricultural and industrial development, and thus the overall productive potential of a community.