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Water Facts & Water Stories from Across the Globe

For many, ready access to water is seen as a given, inalienable right. However for many people across the world, clean, potable water is a particularly valuable and scarce commodity. Some people in Africa ­ predominantly woman ­ can walk up to 10 hours per day to collect water and then spend hours boiling the water to purify it and make it drinkable. The WWO seeks to raise the level of awareness of the global population to this paradigm to promote both personal and global behavioral changes.

Coming soon.

Water Facts, from “Earth Water Global”

Sources: The Economist, the National Geographic Society, USAID studies, The Pacific Institute, Global Development Research Center and the United States Geological Survey.

Scarcity Amid Plenty:
  • In Coleridge's "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner," the sailor laments the paradox "water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink"
  • The world's water consumption rate is doubling every 20 years, outpacing by two times the rate of population growth. With persistent regional droughts, shifts of the growing population to urban coastal cities, and the water needed for industrial growth, it is projected that by the year 2025 water demand will exceed supply by 56%
  • Despite being the most common substance on earth, 97% is seawater and unfit for human use. Two thirds of the fresh water is locked up in glaciers leaving only 1% of the earth's water for human consumption; this 1% is increasingly threatened by pollution
  • It is estimated that 97% of the earth's unfrozen freshwater supply is groundwater

  • Demographics:
  • Since 1950 the world population has doubled and water use has tripled
  • Only 20% of the world population enjoys access to running water; over one billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water
  • The average American individual uses 100 to 176 gallons of water per day; in contrast, the average African family uses 5 gallons of water per day
  • At least 1 billion people must walk 3 hours or more to obtain drinking water; individuals spend more than 200 million hours per day walking to collect water from distant, often polluted sources

  • Health:
  • Of the 37 major diseases in developing countries, 21 are water and sanitation related; no single type of intervention has greater overall impact upon the national development and public health than does the provision of safe drinking water and the proper disposal of human excreta
  • The United Nations estimates that by 2025 30% of the world population in 50 countries will face water shortages
  • The World Health Organization estimates that water related diseases account for 80% of all sicknesses in the developing world and claim approximately 5 million lives each year
  • If no action is taken to meet basic water needs, as many as 135 million people may die from water-related diseases by 2020
  • At any given time, half the people in developing countries are suffering from water-related diseases

  • Metrics:
  • 1 ton of grain requires 1,000 tons of water, 1 slice of cantaloupe requires 40 gallons of water, an 8 ounce serving of steak requires 1,232 gallons; 1 pound of pork requires 1,630 gallons
  • Agriculture can consume 75 to 90% of a region's available water
  • One inch of rain falling on one acre of land is equal to roughly 27,154 gallons of water

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