Just the Facts

JUST THE FACTS

  • Almost three quarters of Earth’s surface is covered with water, but most of it is too salty to drink. And the 2.5 percent that is freshwater is locked up either in soil, remote snowpacks and glaciers or in deep aquifers. That leaves less than 1 percent of all freshwater for humans and animals to drink and for farmers to use to raise crops—and that remnant is shrinking as rising global temperatures trigger more droughts.

Water and health

  • Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. Absent, inadequate, or inappropriately managed water and sanitation services expose individuals to preventable health risks. This is particularly the case in rural areas of the Third-World, where there is additional risk of infection and disease when water, sanitation, and hygiene services are lacking. Globally, 15% of patients develop an infection during a hospital stay, with the proportion much greater in low-income countries.
  • Inadequate management of wastewater means the drinking-water of hundreds of millions of people is dangerously contaminated or chemically polluted. Some 842,000 people are estimated to die each year from diarrhea as a result of unsafe drinking-water, sanitation, and hand hygiene. Yet diarrhea is largely preventable, and the deaths of 361,000 children aged under 5 years could be avoided each year if these risk factors were better addressed. Children [and their parents] are literally dying by simply drinking water.
  • Where water is not readily available, people may decide handwashing is not a priority, thereby adding to the likelihood of diarrhea and other diseases.
  • Diarrhea is the most widely known disease linked to contaminated food and water but there are other hazards. Almost 240 million people are affected by schistosomiasis – an acute and chronic disease caused by parasitic worms contracted through exposure to infested water. In many parts of the world, insects that live or breed in water carry and transmit diseases such as dengue fever. Some of these insects, known as vectors, breed in clean, rather than dirty water, and household drinking water containers can serve as breeding grounds.
  • Overview:
    1. 1 billion people without safely managed services in 2015 included:
    2. 3 billion people with basic services, meaning an improved water source located within a round trip of 30 minutes
    3. 263 million people with limited services, or an improved water source requiring more than 30 minutes to collect water
    4. 423 million people taking water from unprotected wells and springs
    5. 159 million people collecting untreated surface water from lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.

Economic and social effects

  • When water comes from improved and more accessible sources, people spend less time and effort physically collecting it, meaning they can be productive in other ways. This can also result in greater personal safety for women by reducing the need to make long or risky journeys to collect water, including reducing the real-world risk of rape. Better water sources also mean less expenditure on health, as people are less likely to fall ill and incur medical costs, and are better able to remain economically productive.
  • With children, particularly at risk from water-related diseases, access to improved sources of water can result in better health, and therefore better school attendance, with positive longer-term consequences for their lives.

Challenges

  • Climate change, increasing water scarcity, population growth, demographic changes and urbanization already pose challenges for water supply systems. By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.
  • Even more concerning, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to shake the world’s thirst as the population grows and water supplies dwindle. Analysts at the investment bank Goldman Sachs estimate that worldwide water use doubles every 20 years.
  • While charities may be somewhat available to assist in funding solutions to fight the global water crisis, the only way for a truly sustainable problem solving approach is to adopt more commercial principles.  The invention as will be described herein, besides being a mobilized water treatment plant, is specifically intended to enable a new class of ‘micro businesses’ owners, wherein those in economically disadvantaged Third-World regions, especially underprivileged women, can transform themselves, in a technologically-simple manner, into entrepreneurs by manufacturing and selling their own highly-purified water products.