There is more wastewater generated today than at any other time in history. Every product we manufacture, every structure we build, and every shower we take, we are using an exorbitant amount of water. According to the World Water Council, if population growth remains the same, clean water resources will be diminished within the next 20 years. Without a commitment to decrease excessive water use, our planet will continue to suffer.
There is also tremendous discrepancy between water use in the United States and water use in developing nations. The average individual in the United States uses 176 gallons of water per day compared to the 5 gallons used by the average African family. In fact, an American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country uses during an entire day.
In many cases, the water found in Africa is contaminated and could cause serious, if not fatal, illness. Diseases, such as Hepatitis A, Guinea Worm, Typhoid Fever, and diarrhea are only some of the diseases associated with water contamination.
Waterborne illness is the leading cause of death in the world today. Despite medical advancements, technological improvements, and medicinal breakthroughs, water is the cause of nearly 3.575 million deaths per year. 1.1 billion people are without access to potable water and, assuming a solution is not found, that number will continue to increase.
In some places, women and children spend up to eight hours per day locating water sources and carrying it back to their homes. This water is full of contaminants, but must be used to cook, clean, and drink. These families are left with no option but to use water that is unfit for livestock, let alone human consumption.
Some companies have made the effort to invest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and decrease the amount of water used to create their products. Others have affiliated themselves with the cause and funded the creation of wells and/or the construction of water treatment facilities.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the impending water crisis. They do not realize the impact that wastewater can have on a global scale. Without a fierce commitment to decreasing the strain on our water resources and helping developing nations to procure some of their own, the water crisis will continue to have a detrimental effect on the global economy and overall well being. The procurement of clean water may seem like a relatively simple task; however, the success of future clean water initiatives will truly have an influence on our future, regardless of our location or economic background.