The Situation

Lara Gattermann

Let’s be honest, we all like to exaggerate from time to time. After all, life can be tough (even in Western countries, yes!) and as imperfect humans, we tend to feel overwhelmed in certain situations.
So safe drinking water isn’t accessible everywhere, we know that – but how severe is the situation really? Is our day-to-day drama perhaps an ant compared to the elephant that is the water crisis? Here is a little overview.

Let’s start with the good news.

The number of people with access to improved water sources has been increasing constantly during the past decades. It went from 76 percent of the global population in 1990 to 91 percent in 2015. Besides, that number becomes even more powerful when you take the demographic growth into consideration, with a world population of 5,33 billion people in 1990 and 7,38 billion people in 2015.

However, its distribution is still far from equal.

First of all, the urban population has better access to improved water sources (97% of households) than the rural population (85% of households). Additionally, we must differentiate between countries. The majority, almost 50% of the people (2017) drinking water from unprotected sources, lives in Sub-Saharan Africa. Other problematic countries are Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan and Mongolia, all with an access to improved drinking water below 65% (2015). 

And what does “improved water sources” even mean?

According to the World Bank, the “improved drinking water source includes piped water on premises (piped household water connection located inside the user’s dwelling, plot or yard), and other improved drinking water sources (public taps or standpipes, tube wells or boreholes, protected dug wells, protected springs, and rainwater collection)” Consequently, an improved source is not necessarily a safe one, it’s merely more likely to provide safe drinking water, while it also reduces the risk of contact with human excreta.

What if you don’t have access to improved water sources?

Another issue we, in the Western world, are quite unfamiliar with, is the collecting of water. This strain is put primarily on women and girls from Sub-Saharan Africa, where many spend over 30 minutes on each tour to collect water.

Now that was only a limited selection of water-related issues.

Unfortunately,there are plenty more such as the spread of diseases due to a lack of access to sanitation facilities (open defecation), or water stress and scarcity in connection with the major water footprint of selected food products.

As a matter of course, the situation still calls for actions to be made towards a more equal, safer distribution of our most important resource: water.
Therefore, and in conjunction with a further set of problems, the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 with the aim to reach each one by 2030.

Our next blog post will cover the SDGs. Feel free to check it out – as awareness is the first step of change!

“There is so much that people take for granted.”
Vivienne Westwood

Spread the word

Close Menu