Skip to main content

Where is the Biggest Crisis of Drinking Water?

Water is the most essential resource on this planet. Despite the concerns about the environment, oil supplies and economic issues; there is, in fact, no item which is more important.

Why is this?

The human body is made up of over 70% water; it is essential for healthy cells and the correct functioning of the body. Although people have been known to survive as long as seven days without water; most people will not survive past three.

Surprisingly, even though it is such an essential item, there are many areas of the world which still struggle to get clean drinking water! In fact, official figures suggest that millions of people across the globe do not have access to clean water.

What you may not realize is that 2.8 billion people are affected every year due to water scarcity issues!

Where is the Biggest Problem of Drinking Water?

There are many reasons why access to drinking water is an issue for countries, it can stem from a lack of natural resources, an inability to finance cleaning and delivering water, or, it can be a result of human actions. Decimating large areas of land can destroy eco systems and pollute water for decades.

If you assume that the biggest problem is simply a numbers game then Sudan has the biggest crisis of drinking water; with an estimated 12.3 million people only having access to drinking water which is not clean.

Venezuela has approximately 5 million people in the same situation; whilst Ethiopia has 2.7 million.

Of course, these are not the only countries in the world to be suffering from a lack of clean water!

Economic Effect

The number of people affected is not the only think that governs where the biggest crisis is! A lack of access to clean water can have huge impacts on the lives of those within a country.

Africa has over 49 million people living in it; in terms of numbers there are approximately 5 million without access to clean drinking water. However, the economic effects are much greater than this.

Every person who struggles to find clean water will spend their days searching for any water and the health risks that go with it.

Whilst they are searching there is no education available for the children and a huge increase in demand for health services; much of the water which is drunk is contaminated. The knock-on effect is that the people in Africa are unlikely to be able to improve their situation economically and will, therefore, never have the available funds to build new water systems.

If you combine this with the fact that their existing facilities and dams are already disintegrating then you could be looking at a much bigger number of people without access to clean water!

From a future point of view, the whole of Africa could easily be classed as the place with the biggest crisis of drinking water.


Finally, it is worth noting that there are several places in the world which simply do not have the resources to turn the water which is available to them, into clean drinking water. Economic issues often outweigh the actual scarcity of water and it is these issues which must be addressed first.

Whether you look to Sudan in Africa or Yemen, there are huge numbers of people without clean drinking water and no visible way to improve this issue. This is perhaps the greatest issue and where the biggest crisis lies.

How to Protect our Water Sources

When people talk about scarce natural resources the conversation is often about fossil fuels. However, one resource that is essential to life and often scarce, even in the western world, is water.

Despite wet winters, long, dry summers are becoming an increasing issue; you will almost certainly have experienced a water restriction measure within the last few years.

There are several reasons why this is the case:

  • Environmental Issues – Pollution from spills can destroy water sources; resulting in a need to spend millions of additional funds cleaning the water. In addition, clearing large areas of land can pollute the water sources and even kill the wildlife in an area.
  • Economic Factors – The cost of maintaining a water treatment works and all the pipe work is prohibitive. These costs need to be met by the consumer. However, if they are not then the system cannot provide clean water. This is a serious and increasing issue.

Natural Water Sources

The water which needs protecting is that which is already collected in lakes and reservoirs; as well as the sources of the water; the springs and even wells which bring the water out of the ground.

It takes surprisingly little effort to infect these water sources. This is the biggest risk and something that must be protected against.

Methods of protecting the Water Source

Everyone can help to protect the natural water sources through some simple adjustments:

  • Minimize Use – Whilst this does not help to keep it clean, minimizing your use of water does help to ensure there is enough available; even when there has been no rain for several months; or longer.
  • Education – Educating people and businesses on the effects of destroying land or polluting water sources is still the most effective tool. Most pollution is caused by humans; leaks from factories are one of the most common issues. By educating people so that they know the very real effect they can have on water sources; it is possible to change behavior and protect the water source before it becomes polluted.
  • Treatment – The ability to treat water and remove an array of pollutants should enable the water supply which is available to be supplied to homes across the country.
  • Location – If you are accessing water from a well then you may already be aware of how important the location is. Fresh water should never be located near potential pollutants. The same is true when dealing with large scale water collection. Of course, the water has already chosen its path; this means any businesses should take care to ensure their waste products are not discharged near the river.

Protecting our water sources is a case of using some common sense and avoiding polluting the water which is available. It can take months to restore the quality of a body of water; time you may not have if this is your only water source.