While the world watches a country ravaged by the effects of so much water this week, it is strange to be writing about the lack of fresh water available in many parts of the world. But the facts are this: 97% of the water on earth is saltwater and of the only 3% that isn't saltwater, only 1.8% of it is potable water. In countries like India, where the population is vastly overcrowded into cities, slums and small villages, the water scarcity is not actually due to a shortage of water, but instead, a shortage of wells.
How is it possible that with all the water available, enough for every person despite what those small percentages above might indicate, there are still 24,000 children in India dying every day from water-related illnesses? It's possible because there are millions of people crammed into environments that are either unsuitable for wells (city slums) or because getting access to clean water is a daunting task, one which can take all day, every day.
The effect that this waterless tsunami has on countries like India is long-reaching and impossible to fix with our simple pity and leftover change. To effect real change with long-term solutions, these communities need clean water. They need access to water close to their homes and families. They need the opportunity to spend their days in school and work, instead of toting contaminated water from miles away. They need water wells.
The non-profit for which I work is partnering with local churches all over India to make this happen. In the past year Sower of Seeds has seen villages and slums receive the blessing of clean water, children become healthy again, families able to go to school and work. They have seen life unfold through the generosity of financial gifts to SOS and the people of India.
Tomorrow, March 22, is World Water Day. Around the world we are are seeing and celebrating water and how it changes lives. I know I've never asked for you to contribute to anything before, but the past few weeks, as I've been researching and working on graphics for this project, my heart is more and more aware of the need in a way that feels suddenly very personal: these people have faces and names and lives, and still no water.
So as you bathe, drink, and cook this week, celebrate water. Celebrate the grandeur of it, the havoc of it, and the simple blessing of it.
Check out the new site dedicated to the facts and opportunities concerning the crisis and consider using one of these images on your site, as your profile picture for the day, or to link to opportunities to help.