For the past month, we've been running a poll on the subject of clean water. The question posed was, "How many people do not have access to clean water around the world?"
The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program defines access to clean water as water that is suitable for drinking with the source less than 1 kilometre away from where the water is being used and from which one can reliably obtain 20 litres per day per person per household . So for those of us with bathroom and/or kitchen sinks - imagine if your sink was a mile away and you had to scale a cliff face to get to it and the water from your faucet was filled with microbes unsuitable for human consumption. You'd be considered to not have access to clean water.
Almost three quarters of respondants chose correctly. According to the WHO, 783 million people do not have access to clean water. That is approximately 1 out of every 9 humans on this planet.
After completing the poll, respondants were asked, "Who should we be talking to in order to address this issue?"
Some of the people and organizations we were referred to include:
- Andre’ Silva at Clean Earth Energy & Fuels. A former plumber, Silva founded CEEF as a means to create sustainable businesses and communities that balance resources and living conditions without undermining their environments.
- King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. A patron of the Global Water Partnership, he was appointed as the Chairperson of the United Nations Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation nearly 10 years ago.
- P. Kim Sturgess, P.Eng., FCAE, ICD.D. CEO and founder of Alberta WaterSMART, a non-profit committed to developing and improve the management of Alberta’s water resources, Sturgess also serves on the Expert Panel for Water Use in Canadian Agriculture and is a sought after speaker and advisor on water issues in Canada and Alberta.
- Matt Damon. Known mostly for his acting career, Damon is also the co-founder of Water.org, into which he’s thrown his celebrity weight. Water.org provides innovative, market-based solutions that change lives every day through safe water and sanitation.
- Simon Griffiths. Determined to change the global philanthropy market into a consumer-driven model, Griffiths co-founded WhoGivesACrap.org and launched an IndieGoGo campaign. Griffiths remained on a toilet for 50 hours, until their target of $50K had been reached. WGAC sells toilet paper with 50% of their profits going to build toilets and sanitation in the developing world.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our poll and suggested an expert to whom we could reach out. We are currently in the discovery phase of a Clean Water Challenge and your participation at this stage has been invaluable.