Read This Before you Turn the Faucet

Picture your to-do list for today — and then put a giant, imaginary “X” through it. Today, your only objective is to search for and collect clean, drinkable water. You won’t survive more than a few days without it. Oh, and you may have to walk more than three miles to even find clean water, if you can find it at all. Even worse, the water you find may not be safe to drink.

Globally, one in nine people lacks access to clean water. Contaminated water kills more children in conflict than bullets and bombs. In some regions, women and girls may spend up to 6 hours a day just collecting it.  While it may be difficult to put yourself in the shoes of a child struggling to find fresh water, it’s important to understand that water scarcity affects everyone, everywhere. Water scarcity and sanitation is a global concern, and recently, we’ve witnessed water crises right here in our own backyards.

Undoubtedly, water is life (more than 60% of our bodies are made of it.) Factors such as pollution, population, and climate change are making water scarcity in the United States a real issue. Communities where water once seemed abundant are now lacking this precious resources. For example, researchers claim that Nevada’s Lake Mead, which currently supplies water to 22 million people, may be dry by 2021. In California, intense drought has long affected farming and agriculture — an industry that provides vegetables, fruits, and nuts to more than half of the U.S. population.

As the United Nations celebrates World Water Day, UNA-USA campus chapter leaders are taking action in their communities through a case competition focused on ending the water crisis here at home and around the world. Teams will compete in on-campus competitions and present solutions that address UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Access to Clean Water and Sanitation.

Since the launch of the campus case competition, UNA-USA campus chapter leaders have been working to raise awareness of the issue and make a difference in their community.

UNA-USA University of Idaho Chapter

“The water crisis is a global issue and we all need to take part in the solution. Due to environmental problems such as pollution, climate change, overpopulation and misuse of resources; many places on the planet are been left without water which is such a fundamental resource for life. By presenting our cases studies we are putting together our efforts into solving this problem and try to ensure a future where every person have access to clean water.”

— Maribel Alfaro | UNA-USA University of Idaho Chapter


UNA-USA Cal State Fullerton Chapter

“I believe it is important for students to stand up for clean water because access to safe, clean drinking water is a basic human right. The world water crisis is a global issue and as global citizens, students can be the strongest catalysts for change in a positive direction by shedding light to problems locally and globally that our governments may overlook. The lack of access to clean water in many regions around the world disproportionately affects women and children, who are the most vulnerable. Students have the power to mobilize in mass numbers and be key actors in raising awareness to access to clean water and fostering community resilience.”

— Crystal Martinez | UNA-USA Cal State Fullerton Chapter

As UNA-USA campus chapter leaders across the U.S. work to address water scarcity in their own communities, we can also collectively work to help raise awareness about the global water crisis.

Consider all the things you did today in six hours. If searching for clean water wasn’t one of them, I urge you to join me and imagine if it was. Before you take your next sip of water today — or take a shower, wash your hands, or use a faucet — take one small action to end the global water crisis. Urging Congress to support the UN’s efforts on clean, safe water is a good place to start.


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