How to Help People Without Clean Water: 6 Ways to Hydrate the World
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Water scarcity is a concern across borders. It is such a priority that the United Nations prioritized it as one of the Sustainable Development Goals. The world needs abundant, clean water, but it is sometimes difficult to see past your sink and shower. Learn how to help people without clean water, even if you can’t physically go and build wells yourself.
Why Water Awareness Matters
Water is not as infinite of a resource as people perceive it. Much of the world’s water is polluted or far away from communities. Everything from tech waste to medications makes it unsafe for the world to drink its waters. Nations without adequate water treatment and sanitation facilities struggle even more.
Water conservation is a matter of sustainability, equality, and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Spreading water access increases public health, minimizes the effects of disasters like drought, and provides agency and joy to populations. Around 40% of U.S. waters alone do not meet the standards of the Clean Water Act.
This is an unfortunate reality, but what is even more harrowing is how 26% of the entire population of the world does not have access to drinking water. Plus, most of the Earth’s water is not drinkable. The United Nations and the world’s leaders need to work together to change that number. Many regions lack handwashing stations and clean fountains.
How do you play into all of this? Becoming aware of your water usage is the first step. Then, you can venture into other realms to find ways to spread the word and increase access.
How to Help People Without Clean Water
Only some people can fly to less-developed nations to transport hundreds of thousands of gallons of fresh, clean water. Just because you can’t hand-deliver relief doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can’t do in your hometown to help people without clean water.
Know the facts and make sure that is what your friends and family know, too. Misinformation is rampant online, so learn your water facts from trusted experts, universities, industry professionals, and nonprofit organizations. It would help if you knew about water scarcity and how it impacts people and educated yourself on actionable methods of conserving water within your control.
2. Donating and Volunteering
If you have disposable income, consider donating it to a nonprofit that increases water access and sanitation. You can also look local to see if there are any environmentally focused organizations to devote your time.
You would be surprised how much a few hours here and there makes a difference to their initiatives. Consider how cleaning up a shoreline for a local river helps water clarity or how going to an event raises awareness among policymakers on what to prioritize. Here are a few to start considering:
- Charity Water
- Mission Clean Water
- Wells on Wheels
- The Water Project
- 33 Buckets
- Water Aid
- Thirst Project
Today is the day to remove any cynicism you have about voting. Every vote counts unless you don’t vote at all. You never know when water protection legislation or tax allocations would otherwise go to cleaning water if you don’t vote.
Advocate for expanded water access and sanitation, then make sure you show up at the polls to make those changes real. Systemic change is the most impactful form of change, so this is arguably the most significant action you can take.
4. Reducing Your Contaminants
Let’s shift from looking at the community to more individual efforts. There are countless habits households have that contaminate water that we don’t even think about because we do them without a second thought. Have you ever flushed disposable contacts or poured out expired liquid medication? Perhaps you’ve gone to wash a fruit and the produce sticker falls down the drain. A few rouge pieces of rice end up too far down the sink after you rinse it off for dinner.
These few instances show precisely how many things end up in waterways that shouldn’t. Wastewater treatment plants do not necessarily have the means to weed out everything. Technology advances daily, but keep in mind the planet still does not have adequate means to weed out pollutants like microplastics or PFAS.
5. Reducing Water Consumption and Encouraging Water Recycling
Even though water is technically a renewable resource, it isn’t equally plentiful worldwide. Therefore, reducing water consumption and recycling as much water as possible leaves more water for others. Feel free to try any of these life hacks or home renovations to use less and reuse as much water as you can:
- Try installing a rain barrel system at your home, which can be as expensive or DIY as you want.
- Purchase low-flow appliances or use DIY methods to make them use less water.
- Turn off faucets when brushing teeth and shaving.
- Keep a bucket in your shower to catch excess water for boiling, watering plants, and more.
- Sweep outside areas instead of using a hose.
- Repurpose pasta water for cleaning vegetables, tending to gardens, or as a deep conditioning treatment on your hair.
6. Reach out to Treatment Facilities and Companies
Companies know what their constituents care about when they hear from them. Feel free to ask them what they are doing to provide services to a large demographic or what new technologies they are testing to make water cleaner.
Similarly with voting, water treatment and utility providers will change their tune if enough people raise their voices on an issue. Additionally, if they are a large provider, are they using any excess funds for social good? Hold big companies accountable, asserting they must contribute to the greater good instead of being insular and focused on profits.
How to Help People Without Clean Water
You can help people without clean water at your own house. Everyone has options, no matter how much effort you want to put in. Education feels empowering to the self, but creating a societal foundation of water awareness will lead to systemic change. Read the articles and the books.
Then, go vote and rally with your communities. If you can, write letters and volunteer, asserting how important it is for climate change, public health, alleviating poverty, and social justice that everyone eventually has clean water.
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About the author
Steve is the Managing Editor of Environment.co and regularly contributes articles related to wildlife, biodiversity, and recycling. His passions include wildlife photography and bird watching.