5 things you should know about water

17 Mar 19

We all need water. It is vital to the existence and well-being of humans, nature and the sustainability of the planet.

That is why, this year’s Project Compassion appeal has placed special focus on water. Here are five important things you should know:

1. Water is a human right

Access to safe water is fundamental for human beings. Humans could survive months without food, but only for few days without water. Lack of access to safe, sufficient and affordable water facilities have a shocking effect on our health and growth ranging from fatigue to kidney problems.

An average person in the developing world uses 10 litres of water for everyday use. Every human has a right to access water for their daily personal and domestic use.

The importance of water has been recognised by the United Nations. It was considered a human right during the General Assembly in 2010, access to clean water is one of the sustainable development goals and World Water Day is to be held yearly on March 22.

Find out how you can be involved in the Water Challenge on March 22 


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Photo credit: Caritas Australia

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

2. Water is scarce

97.5% of the earth’s water is saltwater.  Of the remaining 3%, the majority of the earth’s freshwater is stored in polar icecaps or under soil. Water currently in use is distributed unevenly and some of it is polluted, wasted or weakly managed by people. Rivers, lakes and other water sources are also quickly drying up.

3. Lack of access to water is a global crisis

Water scarcity is a reality for many people. Today, it affects more than 40 per cent of the population with over 1.7 billion people living in area where water use exceeds recharge.

Lack of access to water heavily impacts a person’s health, education and livelihood. Polluted water gathered can cause severe health problems. In developing countries, roughly 200 million hours each day is spent collecting water, walking 6km on average. This is time and energy that can be spent at work earning a livelihood, at school learning or attending to family matters.

Walking to access water is especially challenging for people living with disabilities, like sixteen-year-old Peter from this year’s Project Compassion. With support from Caritas Australia, clean water is now on tap at his boarding school allowing him to focus on his studies and experience fewer illnesses.

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

4. Women and girls are usually responsible for water collection

In households without access to immediate tap water, women and girls are often tasked with finding water. This was the case for Thandolwayo, who would walk 6km a day, risking crocodiles before school would start.

Lifting heavy water buckets for long distances often cause long term injuries. For example, some women in Africa and Asia commonly carry up to 20kg worth of water daily.

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

5. Climate change and water are closely linked

The water we find on earth today has been here for trillions of years. It travels in a cycle from earth to the air and back to the earth again. It can change from solid to liquid to gas, over and over. Climate change are felt primarily through changes in the water cycle.

When the climate changes, it intensifies storms, melting glaciers, sea levels rise, floods and droughts with dangerous consequences. Water-related disasters such as tsunamis and landslides are deadly, inducing a large loss of human lives and infrastructure.

Walk for water so that others don’t have to - hold a Water Challenge fundraiser on March 22.