Champions of the Global Goals: Patricia Heatherington
Water seems like such a simple and basic thing. We turn on our tap or press a button to get from our refrigerator filters, and it’s there. But around the world there are countless communities without access to clean, drinkable water, with the UN estimating over 660 million people without access. The water that is available can be full of water-borne illnesses, with 7 reported cholera outbreaks in 2015. Lack of clean water and sanitation increases the chances for physical ailments, malnutrition, and can only hinder breaking cycles of poverty and poor education.
Access to clean water does so much more than provide a drop to drink. It improves health, and lessens the risk of those water-borne diseases spreading through the community. And for communities where access to water is far away, it often falls to the children to walk the miles from home – and back – to collect water. Without having this responsibility, and with improved health, there is more time to go to school, improve education levels, and work in the community.
Accessible water also helps strengthen food supply and provide better nutrition. From a practical standpoint, creating a clean water and sanitation industry leads to job creation and growth, not to mention additional growth in renewal water resource projects. All of which can lead to a stronger economy.
Clean water may be only one of the 17 Global Goals, but it is interconnected with all of them. If we improve access to clean water and health, education and the economy are also affected.
Creating chances to offer people a way out of cycles of poverty and poor education can begin with something as seemingly simple as drinking water.
References and Additional Information
- UN Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all
- WHO/UNICEF/USAID: 5 Key Facts from the WHO/UNICEF/USAID Document: Improving nutrition outcomes with better water, sanitation and hygiene: practical solutions for policies and programmes or the full report here.
- UN Water: Water drives job creation and economic growth