Access to Clean Water
According to the WHO, 663 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water.1 Contaminated water is a global crisis. Rural towns, villages and communities experiencing poverty frequently do not have safe and accessible water.
Clean water is essential. Water supports vital functions within the human body. It helps the body regulate its temperature to prevent overheating. Water also supports organs like the brain, liver and kidneys and lubricates and cushions joints throughout the body to promote healthy movement. Drinking sufficient water also helps the body remove waste through urination, perspiration and bowel movements.2
Water is crucial to human survival; it is not a negotiable resource.
Unfortunately, millions of people worldwide do not have access to clean water, so they must use contaminated water for everyday tasks like bathing, cooking and drinking. Many communities’ only available source of water is visibly contaminated surface water, containing human waste, mud and sewage. Other communities drink water containing invisible but harmful disease causing waterborne viruses, bacteria and chemicals. Polluted water can cause chronic health issues, infection, illness and even death.
What is included in polluted water?
- Chemicals — Corroded water pipes, agricultural runoff and human industrial activities can introduce harmful chemicals like lead, arsenic, rust, pesticides, bleach or drugs into commonly used water sources. Frequent exposure to chemicals is toxic to the human body; lead, pesticides and more can cause abdominal pain, headaches and illness.
- Diseases — Contaminated water can harbor microscopic organisms like cholera, dysentery and rotavirus.3 All three of these invisible infections cause severe diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to dehydration and even death. Also, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and transmit diseases like dengue fever and malaria.
- Waste — Many communities worldwide practice open defecation because they do not have adequate information about hygiene or sanitation practices; others do not have the space or infrastructure to separate human waste from public spaces. Open defecation poses a serious health risk to entire communities because it can reintroduce harmful diseases to soil and to the water people regularly use.
According to the WHO, a staggering “829,000 people die each year from diarrhea because of unsafe drinking-water, sanitation, and hand hygiene.”1
Unsafe drinking water is a problem for much of the world. Without clean water, millions of men, women and children will experience health complications, sickness and even death every year. Health complications from polluted water can inhibit people from working, attending school and engaging with their families.
Clean water supports individual and communal health, happiness and quality of life.
What is a clean water project?
How can we provide access to clean water?
A clean water initiative, or project, provides clean water from reliable sources for communities worldwide.
- Water protection — To keep water sources safe for consumption, local communities should protect the water from human waste, chemical runoff and other contaminants. It is vital to shift drinking water sources away from high-risk areas near factories, urban and agricultural areas, and places where people defecate, unless organizations regularly monitor and treat the water. It is also helpful to separate drinking water from water used for bathing, irrigation and cleaning.
- Water education — Providing comprehensive education about germs, soap and proper hand-washing etiquette decreases the transmission of pathogens. According to the CDC, hand-washing reduces diarrhea-related illnesses by 23-40 percent.4 Initiatives that increase awareness about hygiene and sanitation can save lives.
- Water sanitation — Protecting water sources from contamination is vital, but communities should also test and treat water to eliminate harmful contaminants, especially microscopic viruses and toxins. Implementing safe sanitation systems must be done on federal and local levels. Sanitation involves proper storage, disposal and treatment of wastewater and robust water filtration systems in homes, businesses and water treatment facilities. Communities can recycle water, but the water must be regularly monitored and sanitized before reuse.
GFA World is an example of a clean water Christian organization. For decades, GFA World has been helping provide communities with clean water. BioSand filters and Jesus Wells can be life-saving resources for many families to protect them from dehydration, lack of sanitation and even severe disease.
- BioSand Filters — BioSand water filters are ideal for families or small communities. BioSand filters work in a matter of minutes to remove 98% of particles, pollutants and other contaminants from water. BioSand filters cost about $30, and they can last up to 20 years with daily use from multiple people.5
- Jesus Wells — Jesus Wells provide clean water for villages, towns and larger communities. One Jesus Well on average costs $1,400 and can provide around 300 people with clean water every day. Jesus Wells can also last up to 20 years with routine maintenance which is provided by the local GFA church.
Please support GFA World in bringing resources that supply life-changing access to clean water. Clean, accessible water is a gift that empowers individuals and their communities. Your partnership with GFA World can provide critically needed clean water to people worldwide!Learn more about water solutions
1 “Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH).” World Health Organization. Accessed 12 March 2022. https://www.who.int/health-topics/water-sanitation-and-hygiene-wash.
2 “Water: Essential to Your Body.” Mayo Clinic. 22 May 2020. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/water-essential-to-your-body#:~:text=Here%20are%20just%20a%20few%20important%20ways%20water%20works%20in%20your%20body%3A&text=Protects%20body%20organs%20and%20tissues,by%20flushing%20out%20waste%20products.
3 “Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health: A Primer for Health Professionals.” World Health Organization. 12 December 2019. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-CED-PHE-WSH-19.149.
4 “Why Handwashing?” Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 12 March 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html.
5 “Clean Water: BioSand Water Filters.” GFA World. Accessed 2 March 2022. https://www.gfa.org/water/biosand/.