We face a worldwide water crisis unless steps are taken to protect this most critical resource. This piece was written and produced by David Rothmiller. Music by Andres Condon. For more info: trickdogfilms.com
(Simon and Garfunkel Version) When you're weary, feeling small, When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all; I'm on your side. When times get rough And friends just cant be found, Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down. Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down. When you're down and out, When you're on the street, When evening falls so hard I will comfort you. I'll take your part. When darkness comes And pains is all around, Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down. Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down. Sail on silver girl, Sail on by. Your time has come to shine. All your dreams are on their way. See how they shine. If you need a friend I'm sailing right behind. Like a bridge over troubled water I will ease your mind. Like a bridge over troubled water I will ease your mind.
Water For Life
The world’s water crisis has many faces. A girl in Africa walks three miles before school to fetch water from a distant well. A teenage boy in China is afflicted with terrible skin lesions because his village well is contaminated with arsenic. Impoverished slum dwellers in Angola draw drinking water from the local river where their sewage is dumped. Farmers on the lower reaches of the Colorado River struggle because water has been diverted to cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
According to the United Nations, every day 4,400 children under the age of 5 die around the world, having fallen sick because of unclean water and sanitation. In fact, five times as many children die each year of diarrhea as of HIV/AIDS. A third of the world’s population is enduring some form of water scarcity. One in every six human beings has no access to clean water within a kilometer of their homes. Half of all people in developing countries have no access to proper sanitation. Water is critical for life and for livelihoods. Yet billions of people suffer from disease, poverty and a lack of dignity and opportunity because they have no access to this basic resource.
Why is this so? Access to water is mainly a crisis for the poor. More than two-thirds of those without clean water survive on less than $2 a day. Either poor people are excluded because of a lack of legal rights to claim adequate water, or they fall outside the scope of limited water infrastructure that serves largely the rich.
The problem of water provision severely affects slums and shantytowns. Over the next few years a majority of the world’s population will live in cities — for the first time in human history. In large parts of Africa, more than 60 percent of city dwellers are in fact slum dwellers. For many of them, water comes not from faucets inside their shacks but from water tankers or standpipes, neither of which is reliable as a water source. Open sewers increase the risk of water-borne diseases.
Water is also a crisis for women and children, because they bear the burden of collecting water. In some places, women have to walk nearly 10 kilometers to reach a water source. Girls drop out of school either because they have to help fetch water or because there aren’t adequate sanitary facilities in school toilets. Millions of school days are lost as a result.
Water scarcity affects some parts of the world more than others. Today, 800 million people live under a threshold of “water stress.” As rivers dry up, lakes shrink and groundwater reserves get depleted, that figure will rise to 3 billion in 2025, especially in parts of Asia and Africa. There is an urgent need to reduce waste and invest in infrastructure to “harvest” rainwater or increase storage.
Most water use is in agriculture. Farming uses up to 70 times more water than is used for cooking and washing. Many countries have to import more than half their food needs because they do not have enough water to grow more food. If we do not change the way we use water, the amount needed for a rapidly growing world population will double in the next 50 years.
Corruption makes responding to the problem of scarcity more difficult. Up to 40 percent of water is lost to water leakages in pipes and canals, one of the main causes of which is illegal tapping. The increase in the cost of water, as a result, affects the poor more than others.
But the water crisis hits cities in the rich world as well — Houston and Sydney, for example, are using more water than is replenished. Australia is the world’s driest continent, where increasing salinity in water is threatening agriculture. Large parts of Europe are affected by recurring droughts.
Global warming is another threat. It will be responsible for declining rainfall in some regions, glacial melt in others, and rising sea levels. Other natural disasters occur with more sudden intensity. The floods that affect the Yangtze River in China every year, the hurricane that devastated New Orleans or the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed more than 200,000 people are all examples of the threats that natural events continue to pose for millions around the world.
Water is ultimately a shared resource. Two-fifths of humanity lives in river and lake basins that lie within two or more countries. Tied together in a web of interdependence, these societies can either suffer from increasing political conflicts or benefit from cooperation. Shared management of river basins has the potential for yielding large benefits in terms of the quantity, quality and predictability of water flows.
The United Nations declared has 2005-2015 as the ‘Water for Life’ decade. The goal is to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015 and to stop unsustainable exploitation of water resources. Governments pledged to do this when they adopted the Millennium Development Goals in 2000.