In our planet, all known forms of life depend on water to live and thrive. The Earth is three-quarters part water, just like the human body which is composed of about 55% to 78% water. At the core of human survival, an average human can only live around three to five days without water. At a more existential level, clean and healthy water is essential to economic and social growth.
As humans are dependent on water to live, it follows that our quality of life depends directly on the quality of water available to us. Good and healthy water brings about healthy and sustainable ecosystems, thus leading to better human wellbeing. Poor water quality, however, damages the environment and vice versa. Whichever the case, poor water quality brings about human disease, deprivation, and death. The most common waterborne disease diarrhea alone affects 4.6 billion people a year, with 2.2 million deaths recorded annually.
Water is the basis of life, yet it can also be the vessel for transmitting disease to countries all over the world, be they rich or poor. As the Earth’s water systems and ecosystems are interconnected, water becomes a powerful equalizer that either uplifts the human wellbeing or drags it towards unlivable conditions.
Besides water’s role in achieving health and wellbeing, it is also vital in agricultural ecosystems and businesses, in chemical and industrial applications, in sanitation processes, recreation facilities, and food processing, among others. The water industry of bottled water and purification systems is also a booming business. And, since time immemorial of course, water is the primary extinguisher of fires.
As the United Nation’s 2010 campaign “Clean Water for a Healthy World” states, “water quality impacts every one of us, and our lifestyles impact the quality of our water.” Water advocacies now focus on urging humans to become stewards for clean and healthy water and not polluters that will damage and deplete the Earth’s clean water resource.