Oceans and seas, rivers and lakes, in the rain, roots, and even dewdrops – water surrounds us. We use it constantly as a resource, from showering in the morning, to the food and drinks we consume, even in generating power. People’s everyday activities use up over 10 billion tons of fresh water worldwide. And in the summer, the need for water is felt even more. With temperatures soaring, we are constantly finding ways to cool down and refresh. We quench our thirst and drink seemingly unlimited amounts of water and cool concoctions. We crowd beaches and pools to take a dip, socialize, and feel invigorated. It is during these hot months when we really appreciate and celebrate the magic of water, how it keeps us nourished, revitalized, alive.
Yet many people in the world cannot access water in the way they need it most. The earth may be roughly 70% water, but only 3% is suitable for household use, while an even smaller 0.4% is safe to drink. Over 45% of the world’s population have no access to piped water and 800 million lack access to safe drinkable water, especially in far-flung rural communities. In Southeast Asia, fresh water is naturally abundant, but without adequate infrastructure, 21 million people in Vietnam, 4 million in Cambodia, and 1.8 million in Laos do not have a stable source of clean water they can use and consume. The global demand for clean water has grown at an alarming rate recently, and it is expected to increase by 55% by 2050.
Away from the urban centers, many families now resort to contaminated water sources, leading to dehydration and illnesses. This affects their productivity and adds to their medical expenses. And in these rural communities, water is not just a necessity for health and nourishment, but also for livelihood. Their agriculture and livestock activities require plenty of water. Without piped systems, the difficulty of accessing water diminishes their capacity to earn income.
For many of us, getting water means taking a quick walk to nearby stores, or turning a faucet and out it comes through sophisticated and sanitized piped systems. With summer in full bloom, wouldn’t it be great to find ways to help others experience the same things? We can help ensure that people everywhere have equal opportunity to meet their basic needs, uplift their productivity, and prosper in life. We can create connections, through the magic of water, that communities need to reach their full potential.
At the heart of our programs are strong partnerships with government, private sector, civil society groups, and local communities. We also implement learning and feedback strategies to strengthen our approaches to promoting gender and socially inclusive WASH practices in our partner communities.