March 22nd is World Water Day. How Does Plumbing Infrastructure Help Ensure More People Have Access to Clean Water?
Alex "Solar Girl" Steele
Every year, on March 22, the United Nations observes World Water Day. This date was selected to represent the approximately 2.2 billion people worldwide who lack access to clean water and adequate sanitation resources like indoor plumbing. This year, the theme of World Water Day surrounds valuing water, and asking people what access to fresh water means to them. To contribute to this important day, Aqua Wolf wants to share some information about how plumbing has helped connect people to vital water resources all over the world!
You may have heard the phrase “plumbers protect the health of the nation” before, and we’re here to tell you how true that statement really is. Here in the developed world, we might take plumbing and water in general for granted. After all, most of us are privileged enough to have had running water and indoor plumbing for our entire lives. However, not everyone is so fortunate. For billions of people around the world, most of whom live in India and Africa, hours of every day are spent locating and securing clean water for simple daily necessities like cooking, cleaning and staying hydrated. Because water is the most crucial resource for survival, people literally risk their lives every day to ensure their families can get a little bit of water. Many children miss out on their education because they have to trek miles away from home to bring back water for their communities, for example.
All too often, children are the people who bear the heaviest burden from lack of access to clean water and adequate plumbing. It’s heartbreaking to consider this, but the reality is that every day, 6,000 children around the world die from diseases related to drinking unsafe water. Something as simple as diarrhea can take a child’s life if they don’t have medical resources and clean water to replace electrolytes and rehydrate them. Other illnesses, such as malaria, giardia and e. Coli can also be present in untreated water, and when so many communities don’t have sophisticated plumbing and water treatment infrastructure, many people have no other choice than to gamble with their health just to get through the day.
With modern plumbing, life becomes much safer and healthier for every member of the community, from the youngest children to the oldest grandparents. Kids can focus on going to school and playing with their friends instead of spending hours every day walking far from home to bring back buckets full of water. Parents can feed their families without having to worry that the water they’re cooking with is contaminated with deadly parasites or protists. The ability to wash one’s hands after using the bathroom or handling raw food can reduce the risk of diarrhea-related diseases by almost 50%, so plumbing and running water really can mean the difference between life and death for so many people!
We know that plumbing can save lives, but how do we get this infrastructure to the communities that need it most? There are a number of organizations working to help bridge the gap for peoples who don’t currently have the sanitation resources they need. One organization, called Plumbers Without Borders, works on a volunteer basis to install plumbing, wells, and water treatment plants in areas that don’t currently have them. By working with international non-governmental organizations and government bodies, grassroots groups are helping to bring more and more people adequate water resources and sanitation. Every year, we get closer to creating a world where no one has to worry about getting sick from questionable water. Now that you’ve learned a little more about just how precious clean water and plumbing infrastructure is, what does water mean to you? Let us know in the comments!