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5 Clean Water Solutions to Fight Against the Water Crisis

By Lucy Clarke · July 7, 2022
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There are many ways to tackle the water crisis - and the solutions are not just limited to creating new wells. Throughout this blog post, we’ll investigate a variety of different solutions that help communities across the world fight the water crisis and enjoy clean, fresh and safe water. 

What is water scarcity?

Water scarcity is something that can be created by humans or it can be a natural occurrence. It is when a region does not have enough water to sustain all the people who live there. 

Unfortunately, water is not equally distributed across the world and a lot of water is badly managed, polluted and wasted. 

Although there’s no global water shortage, there are a large number of areas that do not have access to very much water at all.

However, at a global level water usage has increased more than twice as fast as the growth of the population in the last century. This means that in areas where water has always been historically scarce, water is getting harder and harder to find. 

Some areas that experience high levels of water insecurity are China, India, Pakistan, the Middle East and many areas and countries in Africa. 

What are the main causes of water scarcity? 

Some of the four main causes of water scarcity include pollution, overuse of water, climate change and a growing demand for freshwater. All of these aspects impact communities who do not have easy access to clean water. 

How does pollution affect water scarcity?

Once water is polluted, it is unsuitable for drinking and pollution has environmental consequences too, reducing available water resources too. 

Pollution is one of the main aspects that threaten the water cycle and limits how much water can be continually reused. 

Fertilisers and pesticides are among the most commonly used chemicals that pollute freshwater sources. 

How does the overuse of water affect the availability of clean water?

Wasted water ensures that water supplies cannot be equally distributed across the world. This includes industrial mismanagement of water and domestic activities too. 

Agriculture utilises over 70% of the world’s freshwater supplies, and this amount of wasted water causes a lot of strain on communities that are already struggling with water scarcity.

How does climate change cause water scarcity?

Due to melting glaciers and ice packs, the global freshwater supply is becoming affected, and additionally due to climate change, floods and droughts are more likely to occur - intensifying water instability and water shortages. 

Can growing demand for freshwater create water insecurity?

Due to a massive population boom over the last century, demand for freshwater for cooking, drinking and washing has risen exponentially. Populations are only expected to grow in the coming decades, so better water management is crucial. 

5 Clean Water Solutions

However, there are many ways to combat the growing water crisis and ensure that everyone around the world has access to clean, safe water and can depend on water sources without worrying about waterborne illnesses or without walking miles everyday just to collect water.  

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1: Simply give people water

As simple as it sounds, sometimes the most obvious solutions are some of the best for tackling the water scarcity crisis. 

While trucking in water is an excellent solution for a short-term problem such as delivering water to refugees in refugee camps or providing aid during a natural disaster such as a flood, it’s not viable as a long-term solution.

Instead, we would recommend building and rehabilitating water sources in communities that don’t have good access to clean water. This may include drilling for a new water point, analysing groundwater distribution and soil and rock structures. 

Some communities have already dug wells but need help in ensuring that the water collected is safe for the community. 

2: Protect and improve the quality of the available water in an area

In the best-case scenario, there’s already a water source in the community - like a spring - that just needs to be protected, improved and better managed so the community can access safe drinking water. 

By building protective structures around the water source, we can limit the water getting contaminated by animals and we can limit human interference, too. 

If the community does not have access to a spring, it does not mean that there is no water in the area to be improved upon. If a community is based in a coastal region, the available water can be desalinated - either through portable devices or on a mass scale. 

Water purification tablets can also be used to prevent waterborne diseases, too. 

3: Collect and store rainwater to use later on 

One of the lowest tech and easiest methods to save water is to collect rainwater. A rainwater harvesting system can be used to catch all the rainwater that falls and store it for future use. 

If used in an area that experiences high levels of rainfall, a rainwater harvesting system can have numerous benefits. These systems are easy to manage, and do not need special equipment to use. 

Rainwater will need less processing to make it potable - if it’s collected in the right way. Although it’s not one of the best drinking water solutions, rainwater harvesting systems are ideal for use in agriculture, schools and hospitals and for livestock too. 

4: Build resilience towards climate change

Climate change isn’t coming - it’s already here and it’s affecting communities across the world to access reliable and safe sources of water. The hotter the world gets, more people are plunged into water insecurity.

In fact, for every 1°C increase in temperature, it’s expected that 500 million people will experience a 20% dip in renewable water resources.

We cannot undo the effects of climate change, but we can mitigate them. In communities that are on the frontline of climate change, they can build up their resilience to climate change within their communities. 

Work in this area can include watershed management, planting more trees, soil and water conservation and land rehabilitation. 

5: Eliminate water dumping and water pollution

It’s impossible to solve the water crisis as individuals - and instead corporations need to recognise their responsibilities too. In fact, the NRDC estimates that 80% of the world’s waste water is just dumped back into the waterways. Governments and corporations must work together to prevent contaminated water returning back into the world’s waterways. 

Approximately 1 billion people die each year due to contaminated water, so actions taken by governments and corporations to stop water contamination will quite literally save lives. 

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How can Elliot for Water help lessen this crisis?

Elliot for Water’s browser extension can help communities gain access to clean water and sanitation, through a variety of different projects across the world. 

We use 60% of our profits to finance clean water projects in the countries that need it most. By 2025, we want to provide clean drinking water to 1 million people. You’re just one click away from changing lives.