Our planet is faced with various crises, many of which are far-reaching or long-lasting. It often feels as though new situations are springing up daily.
Wars are waging; people are starving or have nowhere to live; the AIDS virus thrives in Africa; social injustices and prejudices affect the way we see the world.
These challenges, among others, are what most people tend to think of when evaluating society’s situation. They are very bold, in one’s face and immediate.
But the sheer weight they carry often causes a shift in focus away from other problems which might present equal, if not greater, issues in the future. One of these is the water crisis.
Water has been of great importance since before biblical times. It has been the basis of migrations and allowed for the building of civilizations. Crops are planted and harvested based on aquatic rhythms. Water is the world’s greatest creator and also one of its greatest destructive forces.
The World Water Council reports that one billion people live without clean drinking water and many lack adequate sanitation. Nearly 4,000 children die every day from waterborne diseases.
The daily per capita use of water in residential areas is 350 liters in North America and Japan and 200 liters in Europe, compared to 10 to 20 liters in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, more than 260 river basins are shared by two or more countries, mostly without adequate legal or institutional arrangements.
If allowed to continue unchecked, many scientists and historians believe that it could trigger a third world war. The obvious hope is that the issue can be adequately addressed before this point is reached.
The question ultimately comes down to who has access to fresh water, who controls it, and how it is distributed.
As one of the primary holders and consumers of fresh water, it falls on this nation to begin the movement of raising awareness of the water crisis and propel the attempts to rectify it.
With World Water Day having just passed on March 22, we are presented with the perfect opportunity to begin this mission before irreparable harm is caused.