Facts of the matter -- Water
Painting by Daniel Reeve.
- Less than 3 percent of the water found on earth is fresh. Of that amount, more than 60 percent is trapped in glaciers, 30 percent is located underground, and just 3 percent can be tapped from lakes and rivers. If you could fit all of the world’s water into a gallon jug, the amount of safe water available for human consumption would equal about 1 tablespoon. Source: United Nations University
- Demographers estimate that the world’s population will increase by roughly 74 million every year until 2015. During the past century, water consumption has increased at more than twice the rate of worldwide population growth. As of 2002, more than one billion people around the globe lacked access to safe drinking water. Of those without safe water sources, nearly two-thirds live in Asia. Source: World Health Organization
- Over the past five years, The Rotary Foundation has awarded US$27.5 million in grants for water projects, many of them in India, Mexico, the Philippines, and Thailand.
- The tide of people flowing into large cities and the intensification of agriculture in the developing world, coupled with the overconsumption of water in highly industrialized countries, have contributed to decreasing water quality and supply. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, shutting off the tap while brushing your teeth can save as many as 8 gallons of water a day. Source: Environmental Protection Agency
- The lack of access to water precludes the use of latrines and other sanitation facilities, which reduce the contamination of local water supplies and offer the opportunity for hand and face washing. One of the earliest Rotary club projects was a public toilet in Chicago. Worldwide, 2.6 billion people – almost 40 percent of the world’s population – live without basic sanitation facilities. Every 20 seconds, a child dies because of poor sanitation, resulting in 1.5 million preventable deaths a year. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- According to a recent World Health Organization study, every dollar spent on sanitation creates an average economic benefit of $7. WHO estimates that it would cost about $10 billion a year to decrease by half the number of people living with poor sanitation by 2015. Source: United Nations International Year of Sanitation
- Clean water scarcity and inadequate sanitation are related to more than two dozen diseases and illnesses, including diarrhea, intestinal worms, and trachoma. Trachoma, which causes blindness, is strongly linked to a lack of face washing. More than 80 percent of deaths caused by diarrhea each year are attributable to poor sanitation. It is well documented that improved access to clean water would reduce diarrhea and waterborne diseases and decrease child mortality by 30 percent. Source: World Health Organization
- The Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group is assisting with Rotary club projects around the world to tackle water and sanitation issues. Studies show that $1 out of every $10 spent fighting illness and disease worldwide is linked to poor access to clean water. Source: Water amd Sanitation Rotarian Action Group