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Safe Drinking Water: A Catalyst for Health, Progress, and Empowerment

Mar 14, 2024

Safe drinking water is essential for individual health and societal progress. It improves community health and well-being by preventing waterborne diseases, promoting hygiene and sanitation, improving nutritional security, empowering women and girls, and supporting economic development.

Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental human right and a prerequisite for societal progress. In 2010, the UN General Assembly explicitly recognized the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right through Resolution 64/292. 

In 2015, the United Nations (UN) established universal access to safe drinking water as Goal 6 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

By including universal access to safe drinking water as one of the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN recognizes the critical role of water in promoting community health, well-being, and overall societal progress.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why safe drinking water is crucial to society’s progress and how it contributes to community development.

Prevention of waterborne diseases:

Safe drinking water is essential to prevent waterborne diseases that can have devastating effects on communities. Contaminated water sources can harbor harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause diarrhea, cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery. By ensuring access to safe drinking water, communities can significantly reduce the incidence of these diseases, improve overall health and well-being, and thereby increase longevity. 

Promoting hygiene and sanitation: WASH

Access to safe water is closely linked to improved hygiene and sanitation practices. Clean water is necessary for personal hygiene, including hand washing, bathing, and maintaining clean living environments. Adequate sanitation facilities, such as toilets and proper waste management systems, also depend on clean water to be effective. Promoting good hygiene and sanitation practices contributes to disease prevention and the overall well-being of communities, with a particular focus on women and girls. (WHO, 6 July, 2023 “Women and girls bear the brunt of water and sanitation crisis” – new UNICEF-WHO report)

Improved nutritional security:

Clean water is crucial for agricultural activities, including irrigation and livestock. Access to pathogen-free water ensures safe and nutritious food production, contributing to food security and improved nutrition. In addition, clean water is essential for processing, preparing, and cooking food, reducing the risk of foodborne diseases. 

Empowering women and girls:

In many societies, women and girls are primarily responsible for water collection, managers, and users of water; however, women make up less than 17% of the water, sanitation, and hygiene labour force in developing economies and a fraction of the policymakers, regulators, management, and technical experts, according to IWA. The availability of safe water close to homes reduces the burden on women and girls, enabling them to pursue education, income-generating activities, and other opportunities. Access to safe water empowers women and girls, allowing them to contribute more effectively to the progress and development of their communities.

Supporting economic development:

Safe drinking water is a critical factor in economic development. Industries and businesses depend on clean water for production processes, sanitation and employee welfare. Access to clean water attracts investment, encourages tourism, and creates employment opportunities. Communities can foster economic growth and improve living standards by providing a reliable water supply.

Governments and organizations must prioritize investments in water infrastructure, safe resource reuse, water quality monitoring, education, and awareness to ensure universal access to clean water. 

Find out how Bluephage can contribute to this endeavor with its rapid test kits for viral contamination in all types of water. 

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