20 MARCH 2009 / March 22nd - World Water Day

March 22 is ”World Water Day,” a day intended to draw international attention to the critical lack of clean, safe drinking water worldwide. The UN General Assembly designated the day in 1992.

The world water crisis is one of the largest public health issues of our time. Nearly 1.1 billion people – roughly 20% of the world’s population – lack access to clean, safe drinking water. The dearth of potable water is estimated to kill almost 4,500 children per day. In fact, out of the 2.2 million unsafe drinking water deaths in 2004, 90% were children under the age of five. In addition, water is essential to treat disease, a particular threat to children.

A third of the Earth’s population lives in "water stressed" countries and that number is expected to rise dramatically over the next two decades. The crisis is worst in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The world water crisis is created by a confluence of factors including climate and geography, lack of water systems and infrastructure, and inadequate sanitation, a problem confronting 2.6 billion people, or 40% of the world’s population. Some countries have additional problems, including high levels of arsenic and fluoride in drinking water.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation directs a significant portion of its funding to initiatives that have an environmental focus.  The following grants support organizations that seek to provide or improve access to water and sanitized facilities.

Eau Vive (2008)

Association pour la Medecine et la Recherche en Afrique (AMREF) (2007)

Tibet Heritage Fund (2006)

WaterAid America (2006)

SoundWaters (2004)

Mission Enfance (1999-2004)

 

More sources to read: Water for Life Guide