While the amount of freshwater on the planet has remained fairly constant over time — continually recycled through the atmosphere — the human population has exploded over the past 100 years in particular, whilst levels of pollution have increased dramatically.
As a result, every year, competition for clean water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and sustaining life intensifies.
Fresh water makes up a very small fraction of all water on the planet. While nearly 70 percent of the world is covered by water, only 2% of it is fresh water. 80% is undrinkable sea water. Even then, just 1% of our freshwater is easily accessible, with much of it trapped in glaciers and snowfields.
In essence, only a tiny fraction – just 0.007% of all the planet’s water – is available to its 7 billion people.
Clean water is essential for life, but most people in the developed world think little about the water they use for drinking, food preparation, and sanitation. For many people in developing nations, however, the search for safe drinking water is a daily challenge.
Millions of people die each year, most of them children, from largely preventable diseases caused by a lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation.
Much progress is possible. In fact, due to the dedicated efforts of governments and NGOs since the 1992 Earth Summit, safe drinking water has been made available to some 1.7 billion people around the world, with billions having been spent on projects ranging from modern piped plumbing to rainwater collection and storage.
But an estimated 1.1 Billion people still don’t have regular access to clean water and 6,000 children die each day due to preventable diarrhoeal al diseases such as cholera and dysentery, which spread when people use contaminated water for drinking or cooking.
Furthermore, it’s the lack of water for personal hygiene which leads to the spread of totally preventable ailments like trachoma, which has blinded millions of people.
The lack of clean drinking water also traps many low-income families in a cycle of poverty and poor education, forcing people to spend much of their time in ill health, caring for sick children, or laboriously collecting water at distances averaging 3.75 miles (6 kilometres) a day.
Competition is intensifying for this precious commodity.
Agriculture accounts for 70% of all global water consumption while industrial use consumes another 22%.
Access to clean water will become, increasingly, a source of international conflict in the future.
The United National General Assembly has recognized “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right.”
Helping to tackle the global drinking water crisis, to provide every person on the planet with affordable access to clean water, is the goal of PURE ROK.