World Water Day: H2O, Energy and Poverty

El Porvenir nicaragua_8228cnWorld Water Day (WWD) is held annually on March 22 to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year, WWD addresses the very important link between water and energy in the context of sustainable development. Without water, there is no energy. Likewise, energy is required to extract, distribute, collect and treat water.

Water and energy is central to poverty alleviation. Consider these global statistics:

  • 780 million people lack access to safe drinking water – although by some estimates, the number of people whose right to water is not satisfied could be as high as 3.5 billion.
  • 1.3 billion people live without electricity.
  • 2.5 billion people are without proper sanitation.
  • Up to 90 percent of used water in developing countries is neither collected nor treated, threatening human and environmental health.

Since 1971, Food for the Hungry (FH) has been working with the most vulnerable communities in the world, providing families with innovative, integrated and sustainable solutions to ending poverty.

We know that lack of access to water and energy can significantly limit sustainable economic growth.

Our key initiatives – water, health and nutrition, sanitation, agriculture, child sponsorship, microenterprise, and disaster education – are intentionally knit together and designed to promote community ownership and stewardship, thus ensuring greater long-term success.

An excellent example is our collaborative water management project in the Tomoyo region of Bolivia. The beneficiaries themselves maintain and manage the irrigation canal that provides a year-round supply of irrigation water to hundreds of families. This project reduced chronic malnutrition in Tomoyo and boosted the incomes of many farmers by 300 percent.

Digging wells, rainwater collection, borehole water pumps, runoff reduction, water source protection – these are effective ways FH brings clean water to inspire hope and promote good stewardship of God’s resources.

We invite you to help.

The main celebrations of WWD 2014 will take place at the United Nations University in Tokyo, Japan, but you can be a part of the solutions to the water-energy challenge right where you are.

Your active involvement – through your prayers, financial gifts and advocacy – can make all the difference to the millions, if not billions, of people who live without clean water.

Rez Gopez-Sindac is an Austin-based writer and editor covering faith, church management and global development.