How readily accessible is your water?

The April 2010 issue of National Geographic was printed as a special issue about water, and how it affects our global community. Populated with many awe-inspiring photographs from around the world, the magazine confronts many issues facing water today¬¬—availability, scarcity, and the environmental constraints of water in ecosystems. The most shocking article I read in this issue was that of a woman and the struggles she must endure to get daily supplies of water.
The story is about an Ethiopian woman who lives in the Konso district, in a village called Foro. Her name is Aylito Binayo and she makes an average of three trips per day. She has spent approximately the last 20 years of her life making three trips per day-that is almost 22,000 trips to a source of water. It takes her over an hour to walk to the source, and about 30 to 45 minutes waiting in line until she can actually get her water. But even when it is her turn, she can’t always get water. The pools are used by donkeys and horses, which inevitably dirty the water with fecal excrement as well as stir up sediment.
As a result of many nations over drafting their water resources, they must resort to buying water from other nations. This causes a vicious cycle of water rights disputes and a shortage of water in poor villages. Poor villages rarely have working sanitation systems, and often defecate near their source of water. This creates optimal conditions for breeding bacteria and other diseases. As a result of poor sanitation conditions such as these, 3.3 million people die annually. That is over one death every 10 seconds. In an attempt to conserve water, save money, and most importantly save lives, please reduce your water use so that less fortunate people will have the privilege of life.
Brian O’Neill


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