Imagine a day where you wake up in the morning and realize you have no access to clean water. Imagine a life where you or a family member would begin each and every day by walking 3.7 miles to fetch water for your daily use. Imagine walking miles, carrying heavy loads, waiting for hours and paying exorbitant sums of money to access water, and that too for water which is contaminated and at times deadly and life threatening. These thoughts may seem farfetched to some of us but the fact of the matter is that nearly 1 billion people or 1 in 7 humans on our planet endure the above struggle each and every day of their lives. More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation or hygiene related causes. The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
Water is a prerequisite for life. Ensuring access to clean water improves the quality of life of millions of people. Almost one tenth of the global disease burden could be prevented by improving water supply quality, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources. The 220 million hours that are spent by women and children each day to collect water can be put to more productive uses and the 41,000 children under 5 that die every day from preventable water related illness could be stopped. Lack of access to safe water persists as our world’s biggest burden that impacts health, economic development and human dignity and we as a society need to get together to stop this.