Water is essential for life. Yet, at least a billion people struggle daily without access to adequate water supplies, while 2.5 billion people are without improved sanitation. Such deficits strain natural resources and often lead to conflict.
More than five million people, mostly children, die each year from water-related diseases. Increasing pollution and a rapidly increasing rate of global water consumption mean that forty-eight nations will face severe water shortages by 2025, according to the World Health Organization.
There is an international consensus – enshrined in the United Nation’s General Comment on the right to water and in the UN Millennium Development Goals – that water is a fundamental human right, and that access to water can mean the difference between life or death, health or sickness, and economic development or cyclical poverty.
The Oblate JPIC Office supports:
- Corporate transparency on water use, reported on a local watershed level.
- Protection by corporations and governments of watersheds and above ground water sources, especially in areas affected by mines.
- Increased funding for the Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act, passed in 2005, and funded with a new Congressional appropriation each year.
- Government and World Bank policies that ensure all individuals have equitable access to the water needed for basic human needs. We believe that no one should be denied water due to economic constraints. We call on governments and corporations to recognize a Human Right to Water.
Important Documents on Water and Sanitation:
- The MDG target on Water and Sanitation
- Transboundary Water Cooperation
- Water Quality
- Water and Climate Change
- Financing Water and Sanitation
- Integrated Water Resources Management
Advocates of Socially Responsible Investing are calling for greater accountability and transparency on water use by corporations. For information on corporate water use, see the CERES Report Murky Water: Corporate Reporting on Water Risk.
The average American uses 1,189.3 gallons of water per day. Calculate your water footprint here.
Please see our articles on water in the JPIC News, our twice-yearly publication.
- On the growing global water crisis in the Fall 2010 issue of JPIC News
- On the impact of mining on water resources in the September 2007 issue of JPIC News
UNICEF’s Tap Project is raising funds for water and sanitation projects in cooperation with restaurants across the country.
The Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)-in-Schools Initiative is addressing the problem that 50% of schools in the developing world lack water and sanitation.
UN International Year of Sanitation – The goal is to raise awareness and to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to reduce by half the proportion of the 2,6 billion people without access to basic sanitation by 2015.
UN Water – Comprehensive resource on freshwater; the official UN mechanism for follow-up of the water-related decisions reached at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Millennium Development Goals.
UN Food & Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) – FAO Water website
UN International Decade for Action; Water for Life, 2005-2015 – available in English, French and Spanish.
World Health Organization, Water Sanitation and Health; International Year of Sanitation 2008 – available in English, French and Spanish