Millions of people around the world still do not have access to clean water, which is a basic human right. On World Water Day, it is important to reflect on why clean water is still a challenge for many communities globally.
The lack of access to clean water is a serious issue, with more people dying each year due to it than from armed conflicts worldwide. This fact emphasizes the urgent need to address the global water crisis.
Not having access to clean water can lead to drinking contaminated water, which can result in a range of illnesses and even be fatal, particularly for children and those with weakened immune systems.
Additionally, the lack of access to clean water disproportionately affects women and girls, as they are often responsible for collecting water for their families, leading to them being unable to attend school, work, or care for their families.
The global water crisis is not only a humanitarian issue but also an economic and environmental one. The lack of access to clean water can hinder economic growth by reducing productivity, increasing healthcare costs, and decreasing educational opportunities.
It can also exacerbate environmental issues such as soil degradation, water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.
Access to clean water is still a significant challenge in many African countries, with around 40% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to basic water services.
This has a significant impact on public health, with diarrheal diseases being a leading cause of death in the region, especially among children under five years old.
In Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, access to clean water is limited, leading to high rates of waterborne diseases, which can be fatal.
To address the global water crisis, sustainable solutions must be invested in to ensure everyone has access to clean water. Addressing the root causes of water scarcity, such as climate change, population growth, and unsustainable water use, is also important.
Practical approaches to solving water problems in Africa include investing in water infrastructure, promoting sustainable water use practices, and involving local communities in water management.
Rainwater harvesting is a sustainable water management practice that can be adopted in many African countries to increase access to clean water.
At a small scale, rainwater harvesting has been successfully implemented in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid regions, where communities have built water tanks to collect rainwater for domestic and agricultural use.
It is still a shame that despite the countries mentioned above having water supply challenges, every so often they also have to deal with floods, which are a result of excess rainwater which often goes unharvested.
Access to clean water remains a significant challenge in many African countries, with severe implications for public health and economic growth.
The fact that more people die due to lack of access to clean water than from all armed conflicts across the globe is a stark reminder of the urgent need to address the global water crisis. This means giving it the same attention, if not more than, we give to wars, global pandemics and economic crises.
Cover Photo by RODNAE Production.