It may be hard to fathom that water access is actually an issue when the earth’s surface is mostly covered with water; however, the actual usable amount for us is extremely small and finite. Only 2.5% of the world’s water is fresh and an even smaller amount is accessible. 884 million people, roughly one eighth of the world’s population have poor access or no access at all to clean, fresh water. Shocking facts like this were what first intrigued me to study the world’s water crisis last spring and to get involved in GFA’s new World Perspectives Program.
After reading Marq de Villers’ book, Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource over the summer, I quickly realized that trying to tackle “the world’s water” was an enormous topic, encompassing many other issues such as environment, poverty, water conflict, and sanitation. With the help of my advisor, Mr. Llanque, I narrowed my focus to India and began to investigate the country’s specific challenges, seeking to answer the question: To what extent should the Indian government be responsible for providing access to clean freshwater to its population? This question was based on my hunch that the government was not doing all they could in regard to fulfilling the basic human necessity of water. I read India’s National Water Policy, the UN General Assembly resolution on the rights to safe water, watched the documentary Flow: How Did A Handful of Corporations Steal Our Water?, and countless other sources, to fully understand all varying theories about the best ways to get water to people.
As I continued to research however, I found that answers were much more complex. Neither government nor private sectors can solve the pressing issue of poor access to safe drinking water alone. I then formed the idea that a cooperation and collaboration between these powerful managers would be most efficient and beneficial for India. Thus, I began looking into social enterprises and discovered that they are leading the way to solving the lack of water access through innovative technologies and locally focused projects. I was amazed at how successful their work has been so far, and am focusing on companies like Water.org and Water Health International for the relief tactic section of my final paper.
While my global thesis has indeed been a lot of work this year, I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to educate myself on such an interesting and important topic. I am nearing the end of my study with the thesis paper due shortly, and am excited to be soon sharing all I have learned in the final presentation to the public.