Access to safe drinking water: Transforming lives around the world


Guy Tadoum numerongar

Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental human right and a crucial element for individual and community development. Beyond its vital role in survival, safe water brings a multitude of benefits that positively transform people’s lives.

Impact on health:

  • Reduced diseases: Contaminated water is the source of numerous diarrheal diseases, parasitic infections, and other serious health conditions. Access to safe drinking water significantly reduces these risks, saving lives, especially among vulnerable children.
  • Improved nutrition: Water is essential for the absorption and assimilation of nutrients by the body. Proper hydration promotes a healthy and balanced diet, contributing to overall better health and well-being.
  • Harmonious growth and development: Water is indispensable for the proper functioning of all organs in the body. Children deprived of safe drinking water are more likely to suffer from growth and developmental delays, affecting their future health and well-being.

Impact on education:

  • Increased school attendance: When children don’t have to spend hours each day searching for water or suffer from the ill effects of contaminated water, they are more inclined to attend school regularly.
  • Better school performance: Good hydration and optimal health promote concentration, attention, and learning abilities in children, improving their academic performance.

Impact on the economy:

  • Productivity gains: Healthy individuals are more efficient and productive in the workplace. Access to safe drinking water reduces absenteeism due to illness, boosting production and economic growth.
  • Job creation: The construction and maintenance of safe drinking water infrastructure generate employment opportunities within local communities.
  • Economic development: Safe drinking water is a critical element for community economic development. Businesses need clean water to operate, and tourists are more attracted to destinations where access to safe water is guaranteed.

Empowering women and girls:

  • Reduced water collection burden: In many societies, women and girls bear the brunt of water collection chores. Access to safe drinking water frees up valuable time that they can devote to education, family care, or income-generating activities.

Protecting the environment:

  • Decreased water pollution: Access to safe drinking water reduces reliance on polluted water sources, helping to preserve water resources and protect the environment.

Real-world examples of the transformative impact of safe drinking water:

  • In Burundi: The organization Join For Water collaborates with local partners to improve access to safe drinking water in rural areas. In Bubanza Province, the construction of drinking water wells has provided over 5,000 people with access to clean water, reducing diarrhoeal diseases and improving school attendance.
  • In India: The Indian government launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (“Clean India”) campaign in 2014, aiming to eliminate open defecation and provide toilets to all families. This initiative has led to the construction of millions of toilets and significantly improved access to safe drinking water, with a major positive impact on the health and well-being of populations.

Despite the progress made, access to safe drinking water remains a major challenge for millions of people worldwide. Nevertheless, the examples cited clearly demonstrate that safe water has the power to transform lives, improving health, education, the economy, and the environment, while also contributing to the empowerment of women and girls.

In conclusion, safe drinking water is not just a matter of survival, but a crucial element for sustainable human development and community prosperity.

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