The right to clean drinking water is fundamental to human life and critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Clean drinking water helps prevent the spread of waterborne diseases and ensures people can live and work safely. It is also crucial for the environment, as polluted water can devastate local ecosystems and wildlife.
Unfortunately, many communities worldwide struggle to access safe and clean drinking water, negatively impacting their health, economy, and social well-being.
One example is Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina, where an estimated 1 million people were exposed to contaminated drinking water over several decades. The exposure led to numerous health problems, including cancer, congenital disabilities, and other serious illnesses, highlighting the critical importance of clean drinking water.
Now let us discuss in detail why every community needs clean drinking water.
1. Promotes Good Health
Maintaining good health is contingent upon having access to clean and safe drinking water. Contaminated water can cause various health problems, from diarrhea and vomiting to cardiac defects and kidney damage.
The functions of water include the regulation of body temperature, transportation of nutrients, and elimination of waste products from the body. It also prevents the spread of waterborne diseases, which can be particularly dangerous in communities with limited access to medical care.
This was tragically demonstrated in the case of Camp Lejeune, where Marines and their families were unknowingly exposed to toxic water for years. The water contamination at Camp Lejeune was caused by the release of industrial chemicals and toxic waste into the groundwater, resulting in health problems like skin infections, congenital disabilities, and neurological disorders.
Individuals affected by Camp Lejeune toxic water may be eligible for compensation, covering all costs, including medical expenses, lost wages, and any other damage caused by this exposure.
2. Supports Economic Growth
Clean water is not only essential for good health, but it is also a critical factor in supporting economic growth.
When people have access to clean water, they are more likely to practice good hygiene and sanitation practices, such as handwashing and proper disposal of waste. This can reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases and other illnesses, leading to fewer sick days and increased productivity in the workforce.
Additionally, access to clean water can support industries that rely on water for production, such as agriculture and manufacturing. Increased productivity and efficiency in these industries can drive economic growth and development.
3. Reduces Healthcare Costs
Communities and individuals can experience a notable reduction in healthcare costs with the availability of clean and safe drinking water.
The cost of treating waterborne diseases can be substantial, and in many cases, these costs fall on individuals or families who cannot afford them. Communities without access to clean water may also struggle to afford primary medical care, making it challenging to manage the symptoms of waterborne illnesses.
By investing in clean water infrastructure and prioritizing access to safe drinking water, communities can reduce the occurrence of waterborne diseases and the associated healthcare costs.
4. Protects the Environment
The importance of accessing clean drinking water extends beyond human health and encompasses the environment also. Contaminated water has severe consequences on wildlife and ecosystems. Polluted waterways can harm fish and wildlife populations, disrupt ecosystems, and lead to the degradation of habitats. It can also affect soil quality, making it difficult to grow crops or support plant life.
On the other hand, clean water helps maintain a healthy ecosystem and supports biodiversity. In addition, the process of treating and purifying water to make it safe for consumption can also be beneficial for the environment. Removing pollutants and harmful chemicals from the water can prevent them from being released into the atmosphere and causing further harm.
5. Increases Food Security
Access to clean water is critical for food security in communities. Clean water is necessary for irrigating crops and providing livestock with adequate hydration. Without clean water, crops can fail, livestock can die, and food shortages can occur, leading to malnutrition and starvation.
In developing countries, where agriculture is a significant part of the economy, clean water is essential. Farmers need clean water to grow crops, and food processing and packaging also require clean water.
Additionally, clean water can improve the safety and quality of food products. Waterborne pathogens can contaminate food, making it unsafe to consume, but clean water can prevent this.
6. Builds Resilience
Access to clean drinking water is crucial for building community resilience, particularly during natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and droughts. In such events, water sources may become contaminated, inaccessible, or scarce, making it challenging for communities to meet their basic needs.
Without access to clean drinking water during natural disasters, communities are at a higher risk of dehydration, waterborne illnesses, and other health issues that can further exacerbate the impact of the disaster.
By ensuring that every community has access to clean drinking water, they are better equipped to handle the challenges posed by natural disasters and bounce back from them more quickly.
Now let’s explore how adequate hydration benefits the human body:
Benefits of Staying Hydrated
- Balancing Bodily Fluids
Water is essential for maintaining the balance of bodily fluids, including blood, saliva, and digestive juices. It helps regulate body temperature and transport nutrients and oxygen to the cells. Adequate hydration is essential during physical activity or in hot climates when the body loses more fluids through sweat.
- Increases Energy Levels
Drinking water can increase energy levels by improving brain function and reducing fatigue. Studies have shown that mild dehydration can decrease cognitive function and cause mood swings and headaches. Staying hydrated throughout the day can help maintain concentration, focus, and overall productivity.
- Nourishes Skin
Water is also essential for nourishing the skin, as it helps to keep it hydrated and healthy-looking. Dehydration can cause dry skin, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. Proper hydration can help maintain skin elasticity, diminishing the visibility of fine lines and enhancing skin texture and complexion.
- Maintains Kidney Function
The kidneys are crucial in removing waste products and bodily fluids. Adequate water intake is vital for maintaining proper kidney function, as dehydration can lead to kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and other kidney-related problems.
Clean drinking water is a fundamental human need that has far-reaching effects beyond quenching thirst. Water is critical in promoting good health, supporting economic growth, and protecting the environment. With millions of people dying each year from waterborne diseases, access to clean water must be a top priority for every community. Investing in water treatment and purification systems, maintaining proper sanitation and hygiene, and staying properly hydrated are crucial steps toward ensuring a healthier and more prosperous future for current and future generations.