A few days ago, for World Plumbing Day, I looked at the benefits plumbing has brought to us, and our privilege as Barbadians to have access to clean water. Now, tomorrow, March 22, is World Water Day; so I’ve taken an even closer look at this, and cannot help but realize we are so privileged, and dare I say spoilt, that the Barbados Water Authority actually has to invest in campaigns to encourage us not to be wasteful of this precious commodity.
I must confess that while I wouldn’t go watering the lawn during the dry season or using a hose without a spray nozzle to wash my car, I am still guilty of being wasteful. I am too spoilt to shower in cold water, and must run it off until it gets warm.
According to water.org, “over 780 million people around the world still do not have access to clean water and over 2.5 million people still do not have proper access to adequate sanitation facilities. This sad lack of such basic human needs is a tragedy that people around the world are seeking to redress.”
This is also why the United Nations has set up World Water Day, because many take this scarce and vital resource for granted. For World Plumbing Day I mentioned that in Barbados, schools close and businesses come to a halt if the water is off for a prolonged period. Do you remember this headline Water Outage Closes BCC (Barbados TODAY of January 28)?
However, imagine living without the easy access granted to us by the Barbados Water Authority. Here are a few facts to help direct your thoughts:
More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes.
Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours.
Of the 60 million people added to the world’s towns and cities every year, most move to informal settlements (that is, slums) with no sanitation facilities.
Seven hundred and eighty million people lack access to an improved water source; approximately one in nine people.
[The water and sanitation] crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day.
More people have a mobile phone than a toilet. (water.org)
Well, I thank God that, in addition to my cellphone, I have a toilet (more than one, as many of us now do,) and access to clean water with which to wash, shower and cook, and to drink and so much more. So the next time you fill a bucket to give your car a wash, take a moment to remember those around the world who have to go days without showers, or need to fetch water from streams, rivers or wells.
Also remember that that very water with which you wash your car and spray your lawn is actually fit for you to drink, thanks to the hard work of all the folks over at the Barbados Water Authority.
So, for World Water Day 2014, I salute the BWA for keeping me sane, because I cannot imagine life without refreshing showers, foot soaks, flushable toilets, or, simply put, life without indoor plumbing and continuous access to clean running water. Thank you, BWA!!!