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Providing Clean Water for All
Abundant supplies of clean water for 100% of humanity
1.75 billion people are without adequate drinking water
Strategy 4: Clean
population and insufficient investment in infrastructure over the
past several decades have left almost one-third of the world's people
without access to clean water. 60% of rural families and 25% of
urban homes lack safe water.
Water supplies in much of the developing world are either contaminated
with sewage due to the lack of sanitation systems or are inaccessible
to large numbers of people. Water-borne diseases such as cholera,
crytosporidium, guinea worm and schistosomiasis affect over 300
million people. These diseases, when not resulting in fatalities,
are debilitating and leave many of their victims unable to work
at all or at their full potential. Water-borne diseases are a widespread
hazard in the developing world, and people frequently must travel
long distances to obtain household water.
clean water program would help solve these problems -- and others.
Programs that provide tools and education for tapping into subterranean
water tables have proven to be highly effective in rural areas.
A joint program of the Indian government, UNICEF and local non-governmental
organizations are supplying water to over 550 million Indians with
2.2 million hand pumps and at an annual cost of $4.00 per person.
India's rural access to potable water rose from 30% in 1980 to 80%
in 1992 as a result of this program.
needed training, materials and organizational infrastructure for
the needed wells, water and sewage pipes, sanitation facilities
and water purifying systems would provide a particularly large boost
to employment levels throughout the developing nations, providing
many people with useful skills and long-term jobs building and maintaining
the new systems. Supplying water from protected springs, shallow
wells, tube wells with hand pumps, deep-dug wells, gravity systems,
powered pumped systems or a combination of all these, the water
systems would be locally staffed, built and controlled thereby insuring
their continuing functionality and the building of local capacity.
If the water systems created were built by the populations being
served, they would also build the capacity of the local community
to deal with other problems such as road construction, market centers
and schools for the community.
areas throughout the world are losing 30 to 50% of their water supply
to leakage. An investment in repairing leaks, purchasing new pipes
and maintaining existing and new pipe structures would pay for itself
in conserved water in a few years. Mexico City's water system loses
1.9 billion cubic meters of water every year due to leakage. Jerusalem
reduced its annual consumption of water by 14% from 1989 to 1991
simply by instituting a leak detection and repair system.
depending on the level of involvement of the people being served,
vary greatly in cost. The more involvement of the local community,
the lower the short-term and long-term sustainability costs -- and
the greater the benefits to the community in the building of community
capacity to deal with other local problems. Installation costs range
from less than $5.00 per person served to close to $100.
The lower cost figure would result in a total needed expenditure
of less than $10 billion to meet the needs of all the people in
the world who currently do not have access to clean water while
the higher figure would result in $175 billion. Using $50 per person
as the benchmark, an investment in water and sanitation materials,
training and programs of $10 billion per year for ten years
would insure that all of the world's people were provided with enough
water to meet their personal needs.
This is about 1.2% of the world's total annual military expenditures,
or about 1% of what is being spent on illegal drugs in the world
each year. It is also about 15% of what the US spends per year on
alcohol and tobacco.
water supplies, productivity would rise on farms, where frequent
time-consuming trips for water are eliminated, and generally, as
debilitating water-borne diseases are reduced and eliminated as
a major danger to health. Assuming the provision of clean water
resulted in the saving of one million lives per year, the total
savings to the world would be $990 billion per year. The pay-back
on investment time would be less than 4 days. Putting a value on
human life at one-half of what the US government does would result
in a pay-back time of less than 8 days, and a monetary value of
$10,000 would pay back the investment in one year.
What the World Wants Chart