EVERY day is World Water Day.

Kaitlyn Maxwell Every morning, I wake up to the same routine, a simple routine that we take advantage of everyday. I wake up (after hitting the snooze button a couple of times of course) use the restroom and brush my teeth, eat breakfast while gulping down a giant glass of water, then take a long hot shower to wake myself up for the day. Can you imagine not being able to wake up and not follow this simple routine so many of us follow? Because most of the world is forced to live in a world without a hot shower, a working toilet or even a clean glass of water. In fact, 1.6 billion people lack access to clean water in the world, or ¼ of the world’s population! Without clean water the human population cannot exist, making it vital that society pay attention to the scarcity of this resource and provide ways to protect it. Only 2.53 percent of earth’s water is fresh, and some two-thirds of that is locked up in glaciers and permanent snow cover. There are plenty of ways we can conserve water, here are just 100 that include ideas such as, “Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time” and “Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.” Improved water management practices, recycling water in order to use it for cleaning, manufacturing and irrigation purposes, and conserving energy will ensure that we will have that 2.53 percent longer. Water is a Vital Water Source-Video Water scarcity is both a natural and a human-made phenomenon; therefore the water problem isn’t just a problem of scarcity but of access. There is enough freshwater on the planet for six billion people but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and poorly managed. Poorer countries don’t have the monetary resources to put an infrastructure in place that promises citizens sanitary water. See the following chart that tells us which areas of the world have/don’t have adequate water supplies.

http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml You notice that the underdeveloped countries are the ones struggling with water shortage. An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day. So while we enjoy our 15-minute morning showers, 1 child is dying every 20 seconds in these countries because the water they are forced to drink water is filled with disease. People in these countries don’t have the economic ability to provide appropriate ways to discard waste, which is the world’s biggest cause of infection. Cities provide more disease and more water scarcity as their populations grow rapidly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6y4RHryXYXE

Maneeya Chounan, a 38 year old mother of 4, walks hours in the heat everyday because the closest river to her Haitian village in miles away. The water she collects is dirty and

takes her away from the time she could spend in the fields making money for her family. Her health is in bad condition related her days of collecting water for her family, which includes balancing gallons on top of her head while walking for miles, then working long hours tending to the fields for less than a dollar a day. Carrying the water on their heads becomes a balancing act, as pictured in the following video. Haiti

Haiti is considered a very water stressed country with soil erosion, deforestation and the recent earthquakes have even furthered the countries lack of necessary natural resources. Moreover, Haiti’s seasonal rainfall patterns provide too much rain for some during segments of the year and too little for others during the dry season. Current GDP per capita is approximately $570 in nominal terms and $1,318 in purchasing power terms. An estimated 80% of people live under the poverty line. Maneeya’s health deteriorates and she suffers major back pain that makes her mile walk to water difficult. Her children sometimes have to take over this vital role, taking them out of school in order to perform this task. Missing school only perpetuates the cycle of poverty continue in Haiti because Maneeya’s children are not able to get the education needed to get their family out of poverty. Manyeeya is like many families in Haiti, who struggle living in he poorest nation in the western hemisphere, Haiti has to deal with issues of poverty and water scarcity on a daily basis, and so do its citizens. Around 54 percent of the population lives on less than US$1 a day and 78 percent on less than US$2. The people of Haiti often resort to gathering water from 'garbage-filled' rivers to supply

their households with water for their daily needs, including cooking and drinking when water becomes too expensive or there they do not have access to a clean water source.

How can we help? Well, March 22 marked world water day, and has been since 1993 when the UN proclaimed the day as such in order to spread the word about the water shortage the world is facing. The public is encouraged to forget their water bottles, and instead use the tap in order to quench their thirst. There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet currently and that number is said to increase another 2 billion by 2050 according to the official UN Water Day website. ” By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions. The lack of water limits farmers’ ability to produce enough food to eat or earn a living.” These areas are already struggling to feed and provide enough water to its citizens and their populations continue to skyrocket. Here is a video provided by the UN that provides an overview of the 2012 campaign they are trying to share with the public. World Water Day 2012 Each year, World Water Day has a new campaign focus. The focus for 2012 is, “2012: Water and Food Security: The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry.” The campaign includes:
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Worldwide events Social media campaign A message from the Secretary-General And various other Campaign Materials

We cannot beat the fight against hunger without protecting the resource that allows us to grow that nutritious food that is necessary for survival. One in eight people will wake up today unable to secure even one glass of clean water. Water.org provides us with a way to make monetary donations in order to give communities clean water. Matt Damon is a spokesperson for their campaign. World Water Day-Matt Damon The UN campaign provides us with things we can do on World Water Day to help the cause:

follow a healthier, sustainable diet;

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consume less water-intensive products; reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost! produce more food, of better quality, with less water.

Should we focus just one day of the year to the world’s water scarity and access problem? While the campaign is helpful, and certainly brings awareness, it is not going to solve the problem. EVERY day should be world water day. It is vital to life, so it should deserve more celebration than just one day a year. Conserving water is going to help us preserve this natural resource for the future, as it will not last forever. We also need to think about what we can do for these under-developed countries today and everyday. Water.org gives us plenty of ways to get more involved in the water access problem:

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Fundraise using tips from the website. Communities around the world can he helped by the money that you earn. In fact, households, not public agencies, often make the largest investment in basic sanitation, with the ratio of household to government investment typically 10 to 1. Follow water.org projects in real-time. After you choose a community you can watch first hand the progress they make Donate your voice. Which allows Water.org to post facts and stories about water sanitation to your twitter and Facebook feeds, which will help spread the word.

Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. For each $1 invested, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates returns of $3 – $34, depending on the region and technology. If we can help provide an adequate water supply to these countries, the health and overall status of their communities will improve. We are living in a global society and it is our duty to help ensure that this happens, so that one day lesser developed countries can be self-sustaining and live the kinds of lives we are used to (and take for granted I might add). For only $25, Water.org (and other similar organizations) can bring someone people like Maneeya clean water for life, giving her and her family healthier, happier lives.

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