Dirty water harms more than a person’s body

Dirty water normally is associated with worms and disease, and it’s true that it has devastating physical effects on those who drink it. But there’s more to the story….

To lack a reliable source of clean water also means spending hours and hours each week walking to a pond, natural spring or other source (sometimes several miles away), often waiting in a long line, and lugging up to 40 pounds of dead weight all the way back home.

In some places, this process can be repeated three times a day and, during times of drought, it can take even longer to reach a water source by foot.

Some estimates say women in developing countries spend up to 10 hours a day collecting water. The average is somewhere around two hours,
but even so, that’s two hours too many.


Time spent collecting water means….

  • Time away from school. Fetching water almost always is a job for women and children, so children who have this responsibility suffer in their education, putting them at an even greater disadvantage later in life.
  • Time away from home. When a mother goes out to get water, she may carry a baby on her back, but other young children may be left at home. Time apart puts stress on the relationships among family members, and mothers miss out on recreational time, since the work is never-ending.
  • Time away from the marketplace. It’s hard to earn an income for your family when a large chunk of every day is off-limits, so this lack of water actually costs money and contributes to the cycle of economic poverty.

Clean, accessible water is one of the foremost keys to seeing communities emerge from extreme poverty.

When a family has a reliable source of clean water close to the home, people are enabled to attend school, build healthy family relationships and earn more money to meet basic needs.