Stories

World Water Day: Modern Solutions To A Time-Old Problem

It’s world water day, everyone! The day was set in 1993 and has been celebrated every year since, on the 22nd of March. This day brings clean water to the front of the stage, highlighting how 2.2 billion people are living without access to safe water, to this very day. World water day focuses on learning about water-related issues. Many use this day to advocate for the sustainable management of water resources. Most importantly, it’s the one day a year where SDG 6 – water and sanitation for all by 2030 – is emphasized and supported on the global stage. Poor sanitation transmits diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, polio and more.

It is estimated that over 800 children under the age of 5 die every day because of diarrheal infections – due to poor water and sanitation. The water crisis is expected to deepen in the years to come, and by 2050 it is assumed 1 in 4 people will live in a country where chronic or recurring water shortages will be the norm.

We can change our habits to create a more sustainable way to use water, and technology is helping us do this. Soapy’s smart handwash station helps us save up to 95% of water per hand wash.

Every day, Soapy’s CleanMachines save 125,235 Liters (33,083 Gallons) across the world.

In the last half a year, Soapy has saved 22,855,387 Liters (6037754 Gallons).

Here is a video we made showing exactly how little water is wasted when using the CleanMachine.

Water and human history

Water has forever been an issue. Older settlements centered around water sources, and for good reason – water helps humans thrive. Ancient cultures believed water has the power to purify objects of harmful energies. Perhaps, these were the first steps towards incorporating sanitation in everyday human lives.

In fact, sanitation is mentioned quite a few times in the bible in a ritualistic aspect. In Exodus 30:17-21, it is told how the Lord instructs Moses to make a bronze laver for handwashing in front of his tent. In Leviticus 17:15 the priests are asked to monitor handwashing and outwardly developing lesions of those ill or bitten by wild animals.


Following the banishment of Babylon and the destruction of the Temple, Judaism implemented a practice of ceremonious handwashing before eating. This practice is believed to be the reason Jews across Europe were the least affected ethnic group during the 14th-century black plague. The black plague was carried in part by fleas that clung to rats, however, it was also highly contagious and passed from person to person through dirty hands – which explains why it spread so quickly and cost so many lives.

The Greeks were the ones who first created the notion of the “four elements”, with water one of the more prominent components. Early Greek philosophy centered around the four elements – air, fire, water and earth, as creators of all things. Water was regarded as a special element, as it was contained in both the air and the earth and could also extinguish fire. The ancient Greeks were the ones who invented the four humors theory which led to medieval medicine later on. This theory insisted that the balance of the humors (certain fluids inside our bodies) were in charge of our well-being. Phlegm was the humor associated with water because they were both cold and wet as well as both increasing during wintertime.

 

What is causing the water crisis?

Though there are numerous and complex reasons for the water crisis on Earth, a great deal of them have to do with us humans.

Overusing aquifers

An aquifer is an underground layer of water that collects there over thousands of years. These groundwaters can be extracted through various techniques, one of the most known ones being a water-well.

As of today, 120 million Americans rely on underground lakes for water – but they are becoming depleted.

Aquifers have a naturally slow recharge timespan. Humans are overusing aquifers to the point of no return, relying on them heavily for irrigation, drinking water and sanitation purposes – all of which will abruptly halt in the foreseeable future, stranding millions of humans without any water at all.

That’s not the only problem, though. Scientists warn that over-extraction of the Earth’s groundwater will lead to major earthquakes, as the Earth’s crust will become lighter and lighter.

 

Increased human consumption, while overusing and wasting water

By the year 2030, the world’s population is expected to be 8.5 billion people – all of whom require water and good sanitation to live a long and healthy life. Demands in freshwater all across the world are rising constantly and for good reason. Water is critical for a healthy body’s function, but it is also used for irrigation of crops and fields, as well as sanitation practices such as cleaning homes, clothes, showering, and so on. Nowadays, we understand just how critical good sanitation is to health. Dirty living environments encourage infection and illness. However, water waste is a major concern. A previous U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 1.7 trillion gallons of water are wasted every year in the USA alone.

For example, take lawn watering. Experts assess 50% of landscape water goes to waste due to runoff caused by overwatering. It is estimated that the average American family uses over 300 gallons of water a day, with toilet flushing and long showers and baths the apparent culprit for large amounts of water wasted at a time.

The distribution of water resources across the world is wholly unequal – some people live on just 3 gallons of water a day, while others flush 3 gallons at a time down the toilet. Literally.

Climate change and natural disasters  

Climate change has been creating unpredictable and extreme weather shifts across the globe. This can cause long droughts as well as horrible flooding – both of which affect clean water supplies and their accessibility.

Nowadays, experts understand that human activity is the main cause of climate change. The burning of fossil fuels, growing agriculture on previously forested lands, and rapidly growing polluting cities have a part in the acceleration of climate change on planet Earth.

Africa is in desperate need of water, and its sub-Saharan climate is a huge part of the problem. Droughts are not uncommon in these parts of the world, and the desert surrounding many inhabitants is relentless. 40% of those who are without access to clean water live in sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2018, officials in South Africa, Cape town, predicted that the municipal water will run out within three months. In the future, other countries are expected to face these same issues.

In fact, scientists believe that by 2050 the U.S. will be 5.7°F warmer than it is now and that heatwaves, droughts, and other extreme weather events will occur more frequently than ever before.

 

Lack of clean water has always been a problem – but it doesn’t have to be one in the future

We can create a world where finite resources such as water are utilized carefully and thoughtfully. It is true that each individual can do their part in this battle, however big companies are awakening to the huge impact their businesses are having on the world.

Soapy is committed to giving a free Clean Machine for every 10 sold to countries struggling with sanitation due to lack of resources.

Soapy was created with the Earth first, saving up to 95% of water and 65% of reagents. Soapy’s Clean Machine uses 1 cup of water per wash cycle, as opposed to the average of 12 cups used in a “regular” wash over the sink. Here at Soapy, we hope our machine can help conserve water as well as allow those in water sparse areas to practice good hand hygiene. The Clean Machine scans the hands as they are being washed and gives each user a real-time analysis of their wash process. This way, the users can better their handwashing technique every time. If you want to learn more about the Clean Machine, you can contact us here!

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