Why Water Access Can Make or Break Impoverished Communities

Without water, no life can exist. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in impoverished communities around the world whose access to water is severely limited. As fewer people have access to water, major problems occur, resulting in social unrest and devastating health consequences for the citizens of that community. Fortunately, the opposite is true, as well, in that if communities gain access to a reliable water supply, they can quickly begin to flourish. Understanding this reality is key to helping change unequal access to clean water.

Less Time for Work

When it comes to priorities, water is one of the highest. Therefore, people in a community must meet this need before they can move onto other important priorities, such as earning a living through meaningful work. If obtaining water takes a long time, it leaves less time to invest in work, meaning that people can’t sustain themselves with the money that they earn. This can create a cycle of poverty that impacts jobs, schooling, and social connection.

Greater Exposure to Illness

Source: Pixabay/ James DeMers/ Public Domain

In many cases, a community that lacks a reliable water supply will obtain its water from a low-quality water source. Without high quality plumbing and water access, people will seek out the nearest water supply, even if that water is stagnant and full of parasites. Despite basic purification efforts, this water generally causes people to suffer from a variety of serious diseases, which diminishes their ability to complete other tasks. This is part of why access to plumbers and water purification has such a massive impact on family or community health.

Lack of Power

Given its importance, people are willing to do just about anything to obtain water. This allows unethical government bodies to take advantage of these communities in exchange for providing better access to water. This leaves these individuals, who already lacked power due to their socioeconomic status, with almost no power or resources to be able to improve their position in life.

Create Food

In addition to being used for drinking, water is crucial for agriculture of all types. Therefore, if a community doesn’t have reliable access to water, their ability to obtain food can be hampered, as well. Without a reliable food supply, people will tend to leave a community, meaning that the community in its current state will no longer exist.

Not Hopeless

As mentioned, although a lack of water has dire consequences for impoverished communities, reliable access to water can help a community turn itself around. That’s why projects to provide access to water to global communities are so important. Learning about and supporting these programs is a great way to help improve equality around the world.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan