More than a quarter of the world’s population – about 2.1 billion people – lack access to clean water, according to a report released this week by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Accessibility of drinking water, availability when needed and levels of contamination were used to assess water services. Five of them have made it to the list of countries with the worst water quality. They are as follows
Chad is another landlocked, arid country located in the horn of Africa. The country is plagued by severe drought and food shortages which often occur several times each year. The total area of Chad is about 800,000 square miles, about three times the size of California. Of that, only 15,000 square miles is water.
Number four returns us to South Asia where only 50% of the people have access to clean water. Authorities believe that a lack of resources and water conversation plans have contributed to Pakistan’s water crisis. Also, many people have never been taught about water conversation. Getting water is their primary goal, not the purity of it.
Thousands of lives have been lost in the Syrian conflict. Thousands more are dying due to the lack of water resulting directly from the war. The intensity and duration of the conflict have hindered humanitarian aid agencies from delivering much-needed water and supplies. Like Haiti, the lack of access to clean water will become one of the longest-lasting post-war problems.
The depth and the purity of the once-mighty Nile River, the chief source of water for Egypt, have diminished over many years. Of the estimated 3.8 billion cubic meters of wastewater and industrial effluent discharged in the Nile annually, only 35 percent have been treated. “The quality of Nile water is a matter of serious concern, since the Nile is the main source of water for the expansion of industrial, agricultural and recreational activities,” according to Fanack Water.
Like Syria, the ravages of war have contributed to the water crisis in Somalia. The country has what is considered to be adequate water resources, but delivery systems have been destroyed to the extent that the vast majority of Somali people have to walk long distances to fetch the water their families need to survive.
Whether it is arid weather, growing populations, armed conflict, limited freshwater resources, natural disasters, lack of education, or pollution, the people in these countries – and many others – are suffering.