Friday evening, 16th September 2011.
The weekend here in Muscat falls on Thursday and Friday. I decided to spend this weekend with my family to swim together in the swimming pool in a private club in our compound. It was the typical weekend for our family, and swimming is always be the favorite activity that each of my family member will enjoy.
I just lie down beside the pool, sitting lazily and relax, sometimes immerse with the books I read while I still can l watch my son playing and splashing the water in the shallow side of the pool just next to me. My daughter was busy playing and chatting with her friend in the pool, while my husband has already taken one or two lap for his recreational swimming.
Yes we live here in Oman, a country located in a hot, arid climatic zone. Oman also has annual rainfall ranging from a few millimeters in some areas to 300mm over the northern mountains. By contrast, the evaporation rate varies from 1,600mm to over 2,000 mm. This means that water loss in the Sultanate exceeds the water gain. Oman’s position in a semi-arid climatic zone results in the serious problem of water scarcity.
But, amazingly, for years we have been living here, never in one day we ever experience the lack of water. Every morning, water always flows heavily from the tab; the swimming pool is always full of clean blue water. Plants, trees and flowers grow and bloom along the road in the city, makes you feel good and forget that you were in the middle of the dessert. It is amazing! The secret is that tree and the plant and the flowers are well watered through an irrigation system which relies on recycled water and desalination schemes.
I am so lucky to live in a country where water is available to sustain the life of its people. But still, I can’t keep my mind at ease when I realize that out there, in many other parts of the world, water crisis affects billions of people globally, and results in the deaths of 4,000 children every single day. The other facts are: still 2.6 billion people live without save toilet and 884 million people lack access to clean water. This problem combine together will make massive crisis for developing countries.
It means, everyday, when my children can swim anytime they want in the swimming pool in our private club, when my children wake up every morning and brush their teeth, wash their face in our clean and healthy toilet at home….. out there, in a different part of the world, millions of people worldwide do not have access to clean water, and the other 4,000 children die every day from preventable water related disease, making it the biggest killer of young children, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined
e v e r y d a y….
It surprised me and made me speechless. The more surprising fact is, this crisis is completely preventable. But sometimes those in power are not doing enough to stop it crashing over the lives of our world’s poorest. Yet the international effort on water and sanitation is in disarray. Daniel McCarthy, chief executive of Black and Veatch Water, a firm specializing in the treatment of water said that “There has been a lack of investment in water. It only takes priority when it starts becoming unavailable,” … but by then it can be too late….
Since July 2010, United Nation has declared that access to clean water and sanitation is a ‘fundamental human right’. It “declares the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life”. It urges the international community to “scale up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable water and sanitation for all”.
If you want a graphic demonstration of the health impacts of poor drinking water, look no further than Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, political and economic circumstances have created a situation where the availability of clean water and proper sanitation is no longer routine. The cholera bacterium is far from being the only infectious microbe lurking in dirty water. Typhoid, cryptosporidium, giardia… the list continues. In general, with very few exceptions, people simply do not get cholera when the water supply works. It is almost unknown in the west for that single, simple reason.
And Zimbabwe is just one example in the list, and many more in the other part of the world will provide you with surprising facts that you never imagine before.
So what can I do? I think a small step even could give a great impact. From the simple movement to raise the awareness that water is human right, get involve more in the campaign or sign the pledge to make sure the leaders or policy maker understand that access to sanitation and water are key building blocks of development, providing the basis for life, dignity and prosperity.
And if in my daily life water is not consider an issue, now I realize that I should consider myself very lucky and blessed to have the treasure of life: the clean water flows every day for me and my family, especially for my children to grow up healthily . So I can start from myself and my family to use water as wise as possible, conserve it and educate my children to have the awareness on this matter.
Let’s start from ourselves! Hand in hand together we can make this world a great place for our children to live.
To make a simple step to get involved to end the water poverty, please feel free to find out more here:
End Water Poverty. Sanitation and Water for All.
100 Ways To Conserve Water