How to Achieve Sustainable Clean Water for Poor People

Friday 16 February 2018

At the moment, almost 900 million people across the world, or one in eight people, do not have access to safe drinking water. Simultaneously, global water consumption is growing at twice the rate of population growth.  By 2025, it is likely that at least 3 billion people will find it difficult, or even impossible to meet their basic daily water needs. Despite 70 percent of the Earth's surface comprising of water, tens of millions of people across the world are deprived of water. Clean water is a fundamental for human survival, and it is imperative to identify pathways and solutions for water access.

1. Drip Irrigation

Relevant for irrigation in areas of water scarcity, drip irrigation uses water more efficiently than conventional irrigation methods by releasing the water slowly to a specific area at the plants’ roots. It ensures that every drop reaches the plant here it needed most - and mitigates wastage through field runoff.

2. Domestic and at-source water conservation initiatives

By educating people to retrofit their faucets and showerheads with more efficient versions, and displace water in their toilet tank, and fix water leaks, millions of gallons of water could be saved every day.

Simultaneously, leaks can be addressed at the source points - that is, where it is pumped out of the ground  This will ensure sustainable usage of water. A slew of ‘cleantech technologies can ensure that water recycling is increased, for making treated wastewater reusable for valuable, non-drinking purposes. These include irrigation and watering lawns or golf courses, industrial processes, and toilet flushing.

3. Rainwater harvesting  and waterwells

cisterns or wells can be constructed to ensure that every drop of rainwater can be captured from where it has fallen. This system is efficient, but is only relevant in areas with abundant rainfall. Simultaneously, it is important to ensure that the water does not become contaminated in the holding areas, and that it is sanitized before being shipped for movement for drinking and non-drinking purposes. Waterwell construction is also relevant for groundwater extraction. Digging or drilling into the Earth can be used to extract groundwater, which is typically stored 20–600 feet below the earth’s surface. Sometimes, it can over 3,000 feet deep. It is an ideal solution for communities that cannot access drills, fuel, electricity, or solar power needed to reach water buried deep below the surface.

4. Water Treaties

Water treaties is an example of clean water access that transcends tactical solutions and instead provides a policy intervention. Dwindling water resources and growing water demand is creating the circumstances for future competition and conflict between nations over shared water supplies. Water treaties can be used to avert conflict, and ensure that water can be shared in reasonable ways.


Save the Children's interest in mitigating water shortage arises from its critical health in health. Water deficit leads millions to turn to contaminated water sources, giving rise to preventable diseases like diarrhoea, hepatitis, cholera, and typhoid to run rampant through communities with water issues. In developing countries, almost 80 percent of sewage is discharged without being processed through water treatment, making it unusable for the water ecosystem, and instead harming rivers, lakes and coastal areas, and harm marine life. Save the Children works to alleviate the impact of drought worldwide. It also is preventing dehydration, cholera, and waterborne disease, through the NGO’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program. Its workers work around the year to supply hundreds of litres of safe drinking water, Hygiene kits, ORS and water purification sachets to communities in need.  Join the NGO’s goal of ensuring water access to all and donate to NGO fundraising.