BY RAZAK MARIATU
3rd Year Student, Ghana Institute of Journalism
Can we talk about lack of water without bringing Africa into the picture?
No I don’t think so.
A human being can survive for more than three weeks without food, but when it comes to water, it is a different issue.
The average days a person can survive without water is between three to four days, because you constantly excrete water through sweat and urination.
So in order for the body to replenish the lost fluids, the body needs to consume a significant amount of water each day to function properly. Water is much more essential to the body than food.
According to health physicians, people who engage in hunger strikes without food but have access to water can live for a few months or longer.
Mahatma Gandhi, a campaigner for India’s independence, survived for 21 days without food and only made it through by relying on water.
Lack of water or water scarcity is one of the major problems facing many countries in the world. It is a situation where one cannot access water. Although, it is easily overlooked, it plays a vital role in our lives. As the saying goes “Water is life”. Without water, we can’t do anything because it’s what keeps us going day-in-day-out.
The World Bank classifies water scarcity as when people in a determined location receive less than 1,000 cubic metres of fresh water per person a year.
Despite covering about 70percent of the Earth’s surface, water, especially drinking water, is not as plentiful as one might think. Only 3percent of it is fresh.
Over 1 billion people lack access to water and another 2.7 billion find it scarce for at least one month of the year.
A 2014 survey of the world’s 500 largest cities according to BBC News, estimates that one in four is in a situation of “water stress”.
The United Nations, has also projected that global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40percent in 2030, thanks to a combination of climate change, human action and population growth.
Many African countries like Ghana still face water scarcity. Some parts of Ghana especially the north, are still seen having a hard time getting water. Some get water from caves, others dig up holes deep in the sand for water and some others have no choice but to drink with animals from the same river which isn’t healthy. These sources of water don’t provide clean and safe water for consumption but because we need it, we still go for it.
Those at the typical villages are always seen travelling with buckets and water storage just to get water and it’s not like they go with a car or something. These people who are seen walking miles away from their homes just to get water includes kids and the aged. Kids should be in school but they are always seen helping their parents carry water home.
In Northeast Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan, millions of its citizens are reliant on unsafe water which, for malnourished children, can lead to any diseases related to diarrhea.
“Because unsafe water can cause malnutrition or make it worse, no matter how much food a malnourished child eats, he or she will not get better if the water they are drinking is not safe.” Said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes.
Providing stable fresh water supplies is a priority for everyone in the world. Yet supplies are unstable in many countries and water-related risks increase.
Singapore for example is highly populated and has no freshwater lakes or aquifers and its demand for water far exceeds what nature provides for them. Yet the country is consistently held up as an exceptional water manager.
Now let’s turn our focus to Libya, which is a North African country. They also have a similar issue they are facing as other African countries, which is water scarcity. This country is a war-torn country dealing with major water issues. Naturally, their source of water is very few and it’s not helping everyone due to their population and the number of people seeking refuge inside the country. Moreover, whenever there is a change in government, it also serve as a factor in preventing them from getting access to water and this happens on occasion.
Moreover, as population grows and change in climate increases, it threatens our water supply. When there is high birth rate and the amount of water we have still remains constant, water shortage kicks in. If citizens are lectured on how to use water sparingly and they abide by the teachings, water can be conserved and stored for future purposes to help a huge number of people. Encouraging people to consume less water at home is another way to also achieve that goal.