“Water,water everywhere but not a drop to drink”,has become true in the context of the present day world specially in the developing countries where there is huge sources of water but people have to drink dirty and polluted water of the canals, streams, ponds and rivers.
The answer for this question is simple and straight forward. People throughout the world will have clean and safe drinking water within a few years time when the governments become able to manage the water system properly.
When the governments in the developing countries stop corruption, work efficiently, educate people about the importance of pollution free drinking water and proper use of water all over the world irrespective of developed or developing countries then this is not a serious problem.
There is no scarcity of water in the world as two thirds is water in our planet. But there is no safe drinking water. Why? This is because of the lack of proper management and increasing corruption in developing countries and wastage of water in the developed world.
I want to provide small example of water shortage in the developing countries. Nepal is a small landlocked country situated between India and China. There is abundance sources of water as the rivers flow directly from the snowy Himalayas to the Ganges river in India passing through Nepal. There are big rivers originated directly from the Himalayas including Karnali, Kali Gandaki,Bheri, Bhote Koshi and Koshi. In addition to these big rivers there are thousands of streams across the country. Nepal is the second richest country in water resources in the world but there is scarcity of drinking water – forget about the safe and clean drinking water. People are compelled to drink water from polluted canals, rain water of the ponds and rivers.
According to a study, it is estimated that if the water resources of the Himalayan nation is properly utilized, whole South Asia can have safe and pollution free drinking water. But look what is the situation of the capital city Kathmandu?
Water flows from the taps only a few hours in a day. And sometimes during the summer, drinking water is distributed only 3/4 hours a day that is also on a rotation basis. More than half of the population have no access to clean drinking water. And those who have access to water is from traditional water distribution system. People travel for more than 2/3 hours to bring water. Running rivers, streams, canal and stone taps are the sources of drinking water. They are polluted. Over 70 percent population depend on such sources for drinking water. Like in other developing countries, more than 60 percent of the population suffer from water borne disease as the rivers and streams are not safe and clean. There is too much pollution.
The developing countries have almost the same problem. There is no proper management of water. Increasing corruption and lack of proper management is said to be the main reason of the scarcity of drinking water.
Lets take the example of another country where there is no such source of water. Israel in the Middle East. All of us know that this is a country of desert but there is appropriate management of water resources from the sea. Even water is purified and distributed from the sea of Galilee. There is no scarcity of safe and clean drinking water.
Why a country of water resources has no drinking water and a country in the desert has overflowed clean drinking water? Proper management of water is the answer.
People have suffered from various water borne disease in Africa, Asia and Latin American countries due to the lack of safe drinking water. People are compelled to drink polluted water from open ponds, rivers and seas. People depend on rain water that is also used without any purification.
More than 60 percent diseases in the developing countries are related to water. Disease like diarrhea and cholera have claimed the lives of millions of people specially children in Africa and Asia.It is directly related to the lack of clean drinking water. If clean drinking water is provided then the number of water related disease could be controlled. It means nearly 50 percent of the health budget in developing countries is spent for the treatment of water related disease. Big rivers like Ganges, Brahmaputra are being polluted while people are deprived of the basic of the basic needs – safe drinking water. The resources is wasted.
There is enough sources of water in the world and if it is properly managed and utilized then there will be no scarcity of clean and safe drinking water in any parts of the world. Most of the countries where there is scarcity of water are developing countries and they are not well governed. It is essential that these countries manage the resources properly, control corruption, educate people about the proper use of water and pay attention to the wastage then the safe drinking water can be available within a few years time.
If the international organizations like the World Bank, which is assisting the developing countries in providing safe drinking water stresses on the proper utilization of resources and the development and developing countries give highest priority to provide safe and clean drinking water, then we will have clean drinking water within a few years time if not by next year. Sincere efforts and priority is must for this initiative.