World water crisis, an overview:


  • In many regions, wells are running dry

  • Often, the water table has been polluted so water is no longer potable

  • 5 billion people face water scarcity problems at least one month per year

  • Less than 3% of the world’s water is fresh

  • North Africa, the Middle East, India, Mexico, large portions of South America, and many islands face the greatest water challenges

  • As world population continues to grow, millions more under water stress

Water scarcity multiplies risk, raising the chances of civil conflict following periods of drought, amongst other problems. The 2016 World Economic Forum’s Report warns that “failure to address climate change and water crises” could also trigger large-scale migrations.

Lower income countries are most vulnerable as they lack good governance and do not have the resources to invest in water infrastructure.

With nearly 78% of the world’s poor living in rural areas, they are the first and hardest hit by water scarcity, suffering significant income losses. These losses prevent rural families from investing in their children. For example, “Children in Vietnam who experienced these shocks were shown to have delayed school entry, slowed progress in school, and lower height than their peers that did not experience this shock.”

How much water does one person need?

At a subsistence level, some people have access to only 5 liters of water per day for all of their cooking, drinking, and sanitation needs.

The World Health Organization specifies 50 liters per person per day as the recommended ‘intermediate’ quantity needed to maintain health, hygiene, and for all domestic uses. 

By comparison, the average American uses 300 to 375 liters per day. Of that, 26% of indoor water is used for flushing toilets, 22% for laundry, and 19% for showering and bathing. 

Existing water solutions are falling short.

Wells are running dry as aquifers are being drawn down faster than they are being replenished. In other cases, the water table has been polluted and well water is no longer safe.

Harvesting rainwater is usually supplemental. Many parts of the world experience long dry seasons with little or no rain. Shifting weather patterns make it unreliable.

Desalination at scale has been a technical challenge. Traditional technology is only feasible in large, expensive installations suitable for feeding municipal water systems.

Treating contaminated water has also been a technical challenge at scale. There are numerous technologies for extracting water from humidity. However, most have only been able to achieve this on a personal or household level.

Children in rural India and Mexico were similarly harmed due to water scarcity. Increased water scarcity also spreads disease because of exposure to contaminated water and less water for hygiene. There are longer term effects as well, including causing nutritional deficits in young children which can permanently affect their learning capabilities.

With fresh water, we grow our crops, cook our food, and nourish our bodies. Without it, we can’t survive. Even as we explore space, the first question about any planet is whether there is a presence of water.

Here on earth, many of us take water for granted. Turn on the tap, and there it is, ready to drink, cook, bathe, do the laundry, or water the lawn.

Yet there are too many places where it’s not nearly so simple. Places where it takes hours to bring home a precious jug of water from a well, where water is contaminated, and often the carrier of deadly diseases.

At PrismAcquaTech, our purpose is to serve communities in need anywhere in the world, so that nobody goes thirsty.

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