Muslim Aid Australia

CLEAN WATER - THE ESSENTIAL LUXURY 

By Vinie Widiasari 

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Taps, baths, showers, swimming pools. Many of us know what these things are and arguably, many would agree that we have become accustomed to seeing these in our homes, shopping centres and even our local parks. But imagine a world where these commodities were not readily available and even rarely seen.

Welcome to the reality of millions of people around the world. With as many as 780 million people globally lacking access to clean water, it is no trivial matter. For these 780 million inhabitants, clean water is an absolute luxury.

Why is water so hard to obtain?
Water can be hard to access for many reasons, depending on the area’s geographical location and at times, the political climate of the region.

Currently, East Africa is suffering from the worst drought in the last 60 years as a result of very little to no rainfall in the last four years! Regions in south-east Asia are known to have an abundance of rivers and estuaries, yet water scarcity is still a recurring problem due to most of these water sources being contaminated due to floods, environmental pollution and population growth. As a result of these issues, many communities are forced to obtain water from mud pools and rivers contaminated with industrial pollution and sewage.

What does lack of clean water mean?
What does lack of clean water mean? For many of us who live in communities with clean water at the switch of a tap, we can never fully comprehend how crippling a lack of access to clean water can be. It is more than just skipping your showers and baths, more than just not having your regular cup of tea or coffee in the mornings. For these disadvantaged communities, it is not having access to clean water is like life and death.

Consumption of contaminated water sources regularly contributes to water-borne diseases. The UN reports that, in most developing countries, 80% of illnesses are directly linked to a lack of access to clean water and sanitation. For many of the unlucky ones with no access to water at all, dehydration is a daily cause of death. Women and children are usually the first victims of dehydration within these communities.

Lack of access to clean water results in zero education or income for most families and children. Many of the able bodied members of a community have no option but to spend majority of their time looking for, and transporting water back to their families and communities just to survive. This means, no school, no work and no way out of the poverty cycle. Children as young as four are forced to carry barrels that can weigh up to 20kg for 3 to 6 hours a day.

How can we make a difference?
There are many things we can do to assist with water scarcity. We can use water wisely in our own daily lives. Don’t fall into complacency and believe that our society will never run out of water. Water is a limited resource no matter where you live and eventually, the source will run out. Here is what you can do right away to help:
  1. Turn off taps when not in use and use recycled water or rainwater for things like watering plants and washing cars.
  2. Raise awareness in your community. This may seem like a difficult task but it really isn’t. Most likely, there are already groups or organisations that aim to reduce and eradicate water scarcity, whether on a local or global scale. Join those groups, spread the word and educate yourself so that you can educate others.
  3. The most impactful and easiest way to make a difference is to donate. Find a trustworthy organisation that actively fights water scarcity and improves accessibility to remote and destitute communities. These organisations regularly build wells and construct water systems that allow communities in developing nations to have access to safe, free and clean water. It's a great way to do Sadaqah Jariya!

If you would like to make a donation for a water project right now, visit http://bit.ly/WaterForLife-MAA and donate a share in our "Water for Life" campaign from just $20!