The Global Water Crisis
Globally, every 80 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease. This means that water, sanitation, and hygiene related diseases kill nearly 1 million people each year. It’s statistics such as these two that should put you on edge. Sure, it might be hard to imagine children in other underdeveloped countries dying from thirst, but the clean water crisis is a global issue that needs to be addressed.
In the United States water scarcity might be an abstract concept, however, we are also diminishing our water resources quicker than we may realize. The average American family uses about 400 gallons of water daily, and over half of that consumption of water comes from using your toilet, showering, and washing your hands. As a country, the United States of America uses 161,000,000 gallons of water for thermoelectric power, and 115,000,000 gallons of water for irrigation DAILY. Over 65% of our daily water usage goes into those two categories while only 20% goes to public supply. Researchers claim that Lake Mead could potentially be dry by 2021; putting about 22 million people in Nevada and surrounding states at risk for a shortage of municipal water.
“What we need to realize is that we could empty half of all the beds in all the hospitals in the world by just giving people clean water.”- Dean Kamen.
Dean Kamen is an engineer, most commonly known for his invention of the Segway. However since the early 2000’s he has been working on a machine to clean water for children and their families in underdeveloped countries. Kamen realized that this global problem needed a 21st century solution. He concluded that through a vapor compression distiller you could turn virtually any liquid into clean, safe, medicinal water. In 2005 Kamen partnered up with Coca-Cola to create a machine called the “Slingshot,” which was essentially the vapor compression distiller. In 2011, Coca-Cola sent 15 Slingshots to Ghana for a field test where they provided clean water to five rural schools. When that was a success, Coca-Cola and its partners decided to order 2,000 Slingshots and place them in under developed countries around the world. This invention alone has already improved the lives of 500,000 people a year.
We need water to survive; it’s as simple as that. No matter where you are located on planet Earth, you will need water to survive. Although the amount of freshwater available around the world has remained constant, (about 3% availability) we do not have access to much of it. Of that 3% available freshwater, about 2/3 of that water remains inaccessible for use and is located in glaciers and frozen icecaps. With our population exponentially growing and our access to clean water diminishing we have ultimately reached a plateau. As a global society we are lacking access to safe drinking water, making this become a very profound problem in globally. However, making clean water more accessible will improve worldwide issues related to health, hunger, poverty, and even education. To say we can easily tackle the global water crisis would be a lie, however with the help of a few individuals who believe that they can make a difference in the world we can save lives while changing and improving the living conditions of millions of people worldwide.