22 March 2022

International World Water Day


The alarm clock rings, we get up and go to the bathroom. We take a shower, use the toilet and look forward to breakfast. We quickly fill the coffee machine with water and coffee powder - and the pleasant smell of fresh coffee hits our nostrils. While we take the first sip, we have already used about 90 litres of water that day - as much as many families around the world do not have for the whole day.

Although two thirds of the earth is covered with water, there are many regions where there is great water poverty. One reason for this is that only about one third of this water is drinkable at all. A second reason is the very uneven distribution of water on our planet. In fact, over 2.2 billion people do not have regular access to clean water. According to UNICEF (2022), every fifth child worldwide suffers from water poverty. Rural regions in Africa are particularly affected. In Tanzania, around 73% of the rural population has no clean drinking water and only 17% has access to sanitation. A lack of clean water inevitably leads to inadequate health care and is directly reflected in the number of diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. As a result, more than 700 children die every day worldwide from diseases that could be prevented through adequate hygiene.

Even though water supply has been improved in some parts of the world through the expansion of sewage systems, for example, the problem is likely to become more acute in the future: Rising temperatures, lack of precipitation and the associated persistent droughts and falling groundwater levels will lead to an increase in water shortages worldwide. The WMO fears that more than five billion people will be affected by 2050. According to the UN, the world population will then have grown to 9.7 billion people. This means a lack of drinking water for more than half of humanity.

Der internationale Weltwassertag ist daher Anlass sich mit dem extrem kostbaren und teuren Gut Wasser intensiver auseinanderzusetzen. Mit dem diesjährigen Motto “Grundwasser, der unsichtbare Schatz“ („Groundwater – making the invisible visible“) wollen die Vereinten Nationen weltweit auf die Bedeutung unseres Grundwassers aufmerksam machen, und es stärker in das  Bewusstsein der Menschen rufen. Denn es ist in besonderem Maße von dem Klimawandel betroffen. So führt in einigen Ländern die Erhöhung des Meeresspiegels zu einer Zunahme des Salzgehaltes im Grundwasser. Vielerorts verschlechtern Verunreinigungen durch z. B. Pestizide dessen Qualität. Dabei ist es aber für die Trinkwasserversorgung, die Bewässerung und den täglichen Wasserbedarf dringend notwendig.

The water in the Nyangao region, around St. Walburg's Hospital, is pumped up from a depth of about 40 metres and is actually not suitable as drinking water because of its high salt content. Nevertheless, it is drunk daily by many residents there, as the alternative of fresh bottled water is often too expensive.

It is to be hoped that today's World Water Day will also counteract future water problems worldwide. Maybe it will help to make us think a little about our morning ritual and act sustainably; we won't let the shower run quite so long, and we'll turn off the tap when we don't need it. Because let's face it, that cup of coffee tastes a lot better when you've already made a small contribution to improving the health of people around the world in the first hour of the day?





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