Almost 70% of the earth is covered with water. The 70% is the vast oceans and seas, the rivers and streams that flow down the mountains, and the glaciers and ice caps situated in the south and north poles.
However, out of 70%, only 3% is freshwater. The worst part? Only 0.5% of freshwater is available and accessible to people. The remaining 2.5% are either locked beneath the ground as aquifers or frozen in glaciers and ice caps that are currently slowly melting and merging with the salt ocean water.
The World Health Organisation considers the “access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water“ as a human right. Water is a fundamental need for humans. A single human needs 20 to 50 litres of clean and safe water to live each day.
Yet, not everyone has the luxury of clean running water from their taps. According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, at least 884 million people around the world had no access to clean water in 2017, and it still remains one of the world’s greatest problems.
That is why the sixth Sustainable Development Goal set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 is to “ensure the availability and sustainability of water and sanitation for all.”
Many countries, including Singapore, try different ways to achieve this goal. One way is by initiating children’s safe drinking water program. That said, why is it crucial for communities to have access to clean and safe drinking water, and how can an ordinary person donate drinking water to help eradicate the problem?
The Importance of Access To Clean Drinking Water
It Promotes Healthy Body
Almost 60% of the human body is made up of water. The most important organs in the body, like the brain, heart, and lungs, are more than 50% composed of water.
An adult human requires to drink more than two litres of water every day. Water is one of the prime ingredients in creating the basic building blocks of the body, such as the cells, and at the same time, an essential material in breaking down the food to transport the nutrients around the body. Hence, promoting better nutrient absorption.
It also helps regulate and maintain body temperature through perspiration and sweating. It helps in excreting wastes and toxins from the body through urination.
Dehydration jeopardises the functions of the organs. The lack of access to clean and safe drinking water impairs the growth of children in remote communities. That is why many charity organizations in Singapore for the poor encourage people to donate drinking water by helping and supporting children’s safe drinking water program.
It Reduces Cases of Waterborne and Foodborne Diseases
Many diseases and illnesses today that kill millions of people around the world are caused by waterborne and foodborne diseases. According to the World Health Organization, only 71% of people globally have easy access to safe and clean drinking water in 2017.
Meanwhile, 785 million people still lack basic drinking water service globally. The worst part? At least two billion people globally rely on water contaminated with faeces.
Contaminated water brings diseases, such as cholera, polio, diarrhoea, dysentery, and typhoid. An estimated 485 000 deaths happen each year due to diarrhoea alone; the majority occurs in low-income, informal, and illegal communities.
Apart from these illnesses, unclean drinking water and poor sanitation also causes parasitic diseases, like schistosomiasis.
These diseases are preventable if communities have access to a clean and safe water source and sanitation. Many charity organizations in Singapore for the poor help eradicate these diseases by initiating a children’s safe drinking water program to the most in need areas and communities.
Improves Community Health Through Sanitation Facility
Apart from drinking, clean water is essential in day to day living, from bathing to basic cooking, down to washing clothes. At least 2.0 billion people globally still lack basic sanitation facilities like toilets, according to the World Health Organization. Many diseases, like hepatitis A, cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid, and polio, are transmitted in poor sanitation.
Even a simple children’s safe drinking water and sanitation program helps eradicate diseases caused by the lack of safe and clean sanitation facilities. Short-term and long-term sanitation projects help reduce the spread of parasitic infection and other preventable diseases, decrease malnutrition, and boost the community’s dignity.
Many charity organizations in Singapore for the poor help provide basic sanitation facilities such as toilets connected to sewers and access to clean and safe waters to improve the overall community health.
Boosts Agricultural Production and Promotes Food Security
Water supply plays a big role in food security. Agriculture needs water irrigation for a bountiful and good quality harvest and production.
The world demand for food is expected to grow by 50% by 2030. Many poultry and hog farmers and crop growers in rural areas rely on natural water sources like rivers and streams as the primary source of irrigation. However, due to climate change, pollution, and the growing demand, unsustainable and unmanaged irrigation system distribution may not produce bountiful harvests.
This problem may tip the balance of global food security. The social impact of unstable food security affects the low-income communities the most.
One way to improve agricultural production and stabilise food security is to incorporate technology and innovation into irrigation systems that produce nutritious food using less water. Some charity organizations in Singapore for the poor help small farming communities by providing farmers with sustainable food and livestock production systems.
It Eradicates Conflicts Due To Water Scarcity
The lack of access to clean water and inadequate supply of drinking water creates water stress in communities, ergo, provoking water conflict.
The earth has very limited access to freshwater, with only 0.5% of the supply accessible for use. This factor, plus the more frequent drought and the increasing global demand for clean drinking water, contributes to global water stress. Water stress stunts the economic growth of a community as well.
To avoid water stress and water scarcity, proper water management and conservation, water systems and projects adapting to the effects of climate change can help ease conflicts caused by water shortage.
It is essential to include children’s safe drinking water program in the water system projects apart from the agricultural and industrial use.
We all know how important the availability of clean, safe drinking water is to the community, yet up to this date, many people still lack access to the most basic one despite it being one of the human rights. Running tap water has been a privilege, even a luxury to others.
The question remaining is how we can counter and solve our water problems. First, we have to distinguish the factors that affect people’s access to clean water.
The 5 Factors That Affect The Availability and Accessibility of Clean Water
Cost and Affordability
The truth is many families in urban communities lack access to a supply of clean water. One of the factors that contribute to it is the cost and affordability of the water connection.
Despite the availability of the water system, there are families and individuals who still can’t afford to have a connection to clean water. Many water providers refuse to serve people living in illegal settlements due to law and policy conflicts.
What governments can do is to provide tariffs and subsidies for quality water provision. A regulating body can also help maintain honest water pricing. In the meantime, charity organizations in Singapore for the poor can initiate a children’s safe drinking water program in community schools.
Increasing Demand For Water
Not only the urban communities need clean water, but the agricultural and industrial sectors as well. Water shortage plus increasing demand leave the least priority areas in the dark.
As the supplies go to the urban and most important sectors, other communities rely on natural or unreliable water supply. Many organisations aid this gap by initiating a children’s safe drinking water program and encouraging people to donate drinking water.
Meanwhile, the government and regulating bodies can come up with sustainable water systems that can suffice the demand for water in the prime sectors. Initiating water recycling programmes can help with the scarcity as well.
Lack of Water Facilities and Infrastructures
One of the most vital factors contributing to the availability and accessibility of clean water is the lack of water facilities and infrastructures.
Dams and water treatment plants are among the most common infrastructure to help supply safe and clean drinking water to remote areas. On the other hand, advanced water facilities like water recycling plants, rainwater reservoirs, and seawater desalination facilities are examples of sustainable water facilities and infrastructure that can help suffice the demand for water in populated areas and sectors.
Meanwhile, there are charity organizations in Singapore for the poor that build basic water systems in remote and neglected communities.
Climate change greatly affects the global freshwater supply. Frequent droughts have caused dams to reach critical levels. Meanwhile, natural water sources like lakes, streams, and rivers began to dry.
The increasing global temperature has also caused the ice caps and glaciers–where most of the earth’s freshwater are– to melt and merge with the ocean water. More and more countries are experiencing fewer rainfalls during the dry season as well.
Proper and efficient water management and distribution and water conservation policy may help mitigate the impact of climate change on water supply. Projects and initiatives that encourage people to donate drinking water can help provide a temporary yet immediate solution.
Knowledge and Awareness
Human activity contributes to water scarcity as well. People’s ignorance about the importance of the limited freshwater supply only leads to the waste of these natural resources.
Information drives and proactive campaigns for water conservation encourage people to save the natural resource, as charity organizations in Singapore for the poor help provide this fundamental right to people in need.
Human activities, such as water pollution and deforestation, can affect the water supply as well; hence, awareness campaigns against these activities may also help.
These five factors can be addressed through various short-term and long-term solutions. The best part? Some of them can be done on small scales or are achievable at the community level.
How Can Help In Providing Sufficient Water Supply To Everyone?
Improve Water Systems and Distribution Facilities
The first thing is to provide and improve water systems and distribution facilities to areas with a lack of access to clean water supply and sanitation. Local governments, private organisations, and communities should work hand in hand in providing basic water treatment and supply facilities and sanitation to eradicate the health impact of unclean and unsafe water supply. Many organisations and government partnerships initiate projects like the children’s safe drinking water program.
Protect Natural Resources
Natural resources such as rivers, streams, and lakes are being polluted due to human activities. Pollution wastes these natural resources at the same time, costing an additional expense for treatment facilities. Apart from pollution, deforestation also affects the water supply these bodies of water get from rainfall.
Incorporate New Technologies
New water facilities and treatment plans incorporate technologies to promote sustainable water supply. Rainwater reservoirs, water recycling facilities, and seawater desalination treatment plants are now used to increase water supply without relying too much on natural resources. People can now donate drinking water by funding advanced water treatment facilities in remote areas.
Private companies and manufacturers can also adopt new technologies to have a sustainable water supply for industrial use. Agricultural and livestock production can invest in a cheap yet sustainable irrigation system to supply the crops and animals with clean and safe water.
Work With Communities
Apart from managing water distribution among communities, the government and organisations can work with communities in implementing small projects and information drives that aim to reduce freshwater wastage and promote water conservation. Forming groups that will lead natural water resources protection will work as well.
The Operation Hope Foundation
The Operation Hope Foundation initiates projects that provide communities in Cambodia with safe, clean, and sufficient water supply and sanitation in the country. These projects help eradicate the health impact caused by unclean and unsafe water supply in the country. For more information about the children’s safe drinking water program in Cambodia, visit The Operation Hope Foundation’s website.