Clean Water and Sanitation

E_SDG-goals_Goal-06Author of the given Essay is the student of Tbilisi State University Lana Kapanadze. The Essay was prepared specifically for the contest on “Sustainable Development Goals and Georgia” organized by IDFI in cooperation with UNDP Georgia and with the financial support from the Government of Sweden.


“The discovery of water on Mars is a first step towards proving the existence of life in any form”- said Doctor of History Josepph Michalski, after NASA discovered liquid water on Mars. The fact that NASA uses water as indicator for existence of life on Mars, demonstrates the interconnection between water and life. The idea that water is the beginning of all living organisms is proved by the fact that 3 billion years ago the only living organisms on earth were unicellular microbes in the ocean.

Water is not simply the mix of Hydrogen and Oxygen, but a unique substance that is available in all three state of aggregation.  Water was the source of fascination for humans since ancient times. Herodotus wrote that Alexander the Great believed in the existence of the Fountain of Youth. In old methodology, we encounter water gods: Neptune in Roman and Poseidon in Greek; hence, the recognition of the power of water by humans has a history that is thousands of years long.

Unfortunately, the issue of water is an unresolvable problem for our civilization. I think the issue of water takes precedence over unemployment, refugees, wars, because water is the source of life and main component of all living organisms. The importance of water for humans is exemplified by medical facts: 75% of the brain, 92% of blood, 22% of bones, and 75% of muscles are water. A human can last without food 6 weeks but only 5 days without water, which proves to what extent water is more significant than food.

Our planet is unique, at least in the Milky Way galaxy, because it has a large amount of water; however, despite the fact that 70% of earth’s surface is water, 97.2% is salty undrinkable water and only 2.8% is fresh. The world of 7.2 billion people uses 7-8 billion tons of water every day, which is an enormous amount. Although clean water is a renewable resource, usage in these quantities negatively affects the environment. Access to clean water is unfairly distributed around the world, with 1/6 of world’s population having no access to clean water. This is in direct correlation with bad sanitation and spread of disease.

Nkaitole, 4 years, lives in Kenya, and wishes to become a warrior when he grows up. However, his survival chances are 1 in 5, so he started to fulfill his dreams at the age of 4. Nkaitole is real human being, with real a story in one advertisement. The ad aims to support donation for countries, where lack of clean water is the number one reason for child mortality.

Africa is one of the regions where the problem of clean water and sanitation is acute. India, Brazil, and the Middle Eastern countries are faced with the same problem. Strangely, the problem of clean water is present in Georgia as well, even though the country is rich with water resources. Many cities and villages face this problem. Problematic cases include Velistsikhe andChumlati in Kaheti region. The most difficult situation is in Kumisi, where rain water is filtered with towels and then used to drink.

I can also bring examples from my life. I remember in 2009, when I was on vacation with my family in Borjomi, tap water was dirty and so unusable that my mother cooked pasta in mineral water “Borjomi”. In my home town Akhaltsikhe, for years, we had to buy drinking water. In case of our country, the problem is in the malfunctioning water system not in water deficit.

After identifying the problem, we need to address its solutions. I have 4 propositions to solve the problem.

I. Rational use of Drinking Water. Unfortunately, society needs to be reminded of this to this day. Water usage should not be decreased at the expense of water consumption, but during brushing teeth, reducing duration of showers, repairing pipes, maximal usage of dishwashers and washing machines. By following these steps, I made my small but important contribution in sustaining clean water. Moreover, rational use of water reduces our expenditures, and positively impacts budgets. This could serve as one of the motivators.

II. New Technologies. Wide implementation of new technologies and their use in everyday life is a step forward in solving the water crisis. Thanks to innovators Altered Nozzle, a device that fits on a tap reduces water consumption by 98%. Moreover, the Lifesstraw filter cleans any water from almost 100% bacteria, and is already used in Africa.  Large-scale use of these technologies will ensure protection of existing water resources.

III. Transfer of Iceberg. Once, during a Geography lesson, while discussing problems of water in the world, I had an idea to move an Iceberg to nearby countries; however, I thought that the idea was ridiculous and said nothing. The issue was raised by the teacher itself, and it was made known to me that the idea was possible but requires significant amount of money and time. Icebergs contain large a amount of fresh water and are big reservoirs. In my opinion, in the world, where 3.4 million die from lack of clean water and sanitation, the budget should be a secondary concern. Iceberg transfers should be headed by great powers. The result will exceed any human or monetary cost.

IV. Reduction of Population. Large population is one of the reasons of increasing water usage and contamination. Reduction in pollution would significantly improve water resources, as well as sanitation.  For this reason, the most populated countries on earth already employ a family planning policy.

V. Good Will. By this I mean government’s willingness to improve clean water delivery services, especially for countries such as Georgia, where water resources are abundant, but the delivery of water is still problematic. Laying pipes, building sewers, and special facilities and allocating funding, it all depends on the good will of the government.

Each component is important and necessary in solving the problem of clean water and sanitation. In my opinion, clean water is one of the biggest problems of the 21st century that unites people around world. Therefore, effort should be made by all of us: scientists, governments, inventors, even Nature itself to solve this problem of mankind, in order not only to protect ourselves and future generations, but to save the planet.


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