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What's Being Done To Provide Potable Water?

Many people in North America are shocked to learn how many people in the world go without ready and reliable access to safe, clean water. Without it, life itself hangs by a thread, and 783 million people struggle to find water to drink that won't make them sick. If that surprises you, you will be relieved to know that steps are being taken to ensure clean water for the entire world. Here's what's being done.


In much of the world, little information is available about what makes a water source safe. It's not uncommon to find people drinking from unsafe water sources out of ignorance, and those who know still drink out of desperation. For those who do have stable access to clean water, few understand how dire the situation is for much of the world. Here's what you need to know about what constitutes readily available, clean water:

  • The water source must be less than 1 kilometer away from where it is used, and it must be possible for the user to obtain 20 liters of water per family member per day for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene.
  • The microbial content must meet international World Health Organization standards for cleanliness.

Here in Canada, it's hard to imagine the struggle of those living without the ability to turn on a tap and have fresh, safe water come pouring out at little monetary cost. What you need to know as one of those privileged people with water stability is:

  • Diarrhea kills more children than malaria, AIDS and and measles combined. The primary cause of such disease is unsafe water.
  • Water may be contaminated with naturally occurring minerals in high concentrations, such as fluoride and arsenic, which can be toxic in high doses.
  • Most of the contaminants affecting those without water stability enter the water by means of animal or human waste. This highlights the need for adequate sanitation, which requires even more safe water access.
  • Your help is needed in securing safe water for everyone.

Public Efforts

Many people are unaware that much of the foreign aid sent to developing countries is going toward securing safe water for everyone. Your tax dollars are being put to good use, making it possible for parents to give their children safe water to drink. At best, though, these efforts are a stop-gap.

Sending clean water is wonderful, but doesn't solve the problem of access. Providing the technology to increase access to clean water is critical, but expensive. Water treatment centers, like those used in Canada, can cost a fortune; enough to make them cost prohibitive for developing countries. What can be done?

Private Efforts

With the goal of providing safe water to the world, private inventors and investors have devised ways to help fill the needs of billions of people worldwide. Products like Lifestraw, a personal water filtration system, are inexpensive ways to help those without access to safe water meet their needs. People in Canada use water filtration systems to improve the taste of or remove treatment chemicals from their water, but in the developing world, personal water filtration systems can save lives.

Providing potable water for the world is a herculean task, but by working together more people now have access to safe water than ever before. Efforts cannot stop here, and those privileged enough to have effortless access to safe water must continue to provide education, publicly funded efforts, and private inventions to meet the demands of the ever increasing population of the third world. Give some consideration to how you can help, with donations, or your creative efforts, and take action to save a life today.