The True Value of WaterHelping communities in need get cleaner, safer water.
Retrieving clean water is a daily, life-threatening struggle for hundreds of millions of people. charity:water is on a mission to change that.
The True Value of Water
We take clean water for granted, and there’s no simpler way to put it. Image if your quick walk to the faucet for a drink turned into a 4 mile trek, or your Nalgene bottle transformed into a five gallon oil jug. What if you could no longer dial in that perfectly tempered shower, or start your morning with that meticulously brewed latte? Every aspect of our daily lives would be tremendously more difficult, if they could still exist at all, without unprohibited access to clean water. Think about how many times you use water in your morning routine alone.
For hundreds of millions of people though, life with clean water has never existed.
844 million people around the world are without clean water, as reported by UNICEF. That is a staggering one in ten people.
In most communities lacking clean water, women and young girls are sent to retrieve the water (usually totaling 40 pounds), often walking an hour or two each way. Densely populated rural areas can have lines eight hours or more at the retrieval sites, which are typically unprotected wells, springs, lakes, and ponds. If the amount of work going into retrieving the water isn’t enough, using these sites is also a gamble. Untreated and unprotected water sources are often contaminated with garbage and sewage, making proper hygiene impossible.
Unsafe water is the result of 80% of all illnesses in underdeveloped countries. According to Wash Watch, a child under the age of 5 is killed every two minutes due to dirty water and unclean environments. A newborn dies every minute from a water-related infection, including dysentery, typhoid, and malaria.
In fact, the number of deaths caused by a lack of clean water totals more than all types of violence combined, including war.
Hydration and hygiene aside, water retrieval prevents impoverished and underdeveloped communities from advancing. A total of 443 million school days are lost due to water retrieval and illness. If 15-20 hours a week are spent retrieving water, those people (usually women and young girls) are unable to work, care for their families, or attend school. Girls aspiring to become productive members and leaders within their communities miss out on the educational opportunities that would give them the skills to do so.
The actual problem with clean water is not that there isn’t enough of it, but that the proper sanitary retrieval and storage systems don’t exist.
Thankfully, groups like charity:water are on a mission to bring clean water and healthy living to the communities in need of it most.
Resources are a constant need to provide safe and available water and most clean water projects that fail do so because of uncooperative or turmoiled governments. Charity:water selects their projects based on location, water scarcity, and immediate need, though they also heavily consider the political climate and reliability of local partners. Charity:water also ensures that they have a productive and efficient team of local partners (usually natives to the area who are familiar with the geography and needs of the community). Once they have established the most productive area and partner organizations, they determine the best water extraction technology for the given area. Different terrains require different water retrieval systems, though safe wells, rainwater catches, and gravity fed systems are the most popular.
The projects are strictly monitored once they begin, which is done publicly. Communication is maintained with partners and governments to ensure that the most people are receiving water as possible. For all of these reasons and more, charity:water is consistently earning high ratings and honors from charity watchdogs, such as Charity Navigator.
Today, charity:water is one of the leading programs for delivering fresh water to impoverished and drought-stricken communities. Over 24,000 water projects have been funded, providing 7.3 million people with clean water. Their investment in communities through safe water have also had continued economic results. As reported by the UN, for every $1 put towards water and sanitation, communities see a $4.30 return in improved education and healthcare.
The joy clean water brings a community is unmistakable. Children and parents smile like they never have before at the sight of their new well or spring in action. For them, clean water means so much more than quenched thirst. It’s hope for a better future. A safer, more educated future. It gives them freedom to live.
DollarFund is proud to have charity:water as one of our earliest recipients. We encourage you to look into all the work they’ve been doing over the past 10+ years www.charitywater.org/.
Next time you spend a dollar on a bottle of water, think about how easy it is for us. How simple water is, how freely it flows. If you haven’t joined DollarFund yet, it only takes 5 minutes and $1. Thank you for being one of the million.