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Only about half the world's population has piped water at home - and only a fraction of that is safe to drink. (AP Images)
The World Wildlife Fund publication, “Adapting Water Management: A primer on coping with climate change,” identifies scarcity of clean water as one of the key challenges facing the world in the 21st Century. The World Wildlife Fund notes, “As the global population grows and demand for food and energy increases, the pressure on freshwater ecosystems with intensify.”
Given this, it is encouraging that many non-profits and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are dedicating their resources to tackling the global water crisis. For a list of international NGOs focused on water, click here. Some are dedicated to providing micro-financing to rural areas without reliable access to clean water and want to build safe, secure wells; some dedicated to helping farmers adapt to increasingly frequent droughts or fishermen to intense flooding; there are even projects by well-known organizations that capitalize on American fascination with celebrities to raise money for water projects, using “Ridiculously Famous Tap Water” to make a real difference globally.
If you’re a government official reading this and asking the question, “What can I do in response to climate change?” in relation to water, then check out Part C of the World Wildlife Fund paper. If you happen to be an individual looking for answers to these same questions, and want to take your first step by working on water issues like conversation, look no further than Water.org. This organization works with people in developing countries to ensure everyone in the world has reliable access to safe drinking water, and they have an entire section of their website dedicated to Solutions that give you real solutions while also explaining community ownership, how they work with local partners, and their WaterCredit system.
One incredible collection of international partners working on water issues is the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Network of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), known as the GEF-NGO Network. Their network of organizations in the environmental focal area of international waters has over one hundred participants from South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. They address issues of transboundary water pollution, invasive species, and unsustainable exploitation of fisheries.
As exciting as it is that all of these organizations are working on water issues, it is important for each of us to take part in our own water conservation efforts, both individually and as part of our community. If you are interested in the projects of any of these NGOs, we encourage you to contact the organizations and let them know! You would be amazed at how an email, phone call or letter can alert people to an issue and start the process of finding a solution.
Hint: our guest blogger next week is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of one of these organizations, with insightful words on the global water crisis and what we can do to help!