#Blue4Water: Celebrating World Water Day

By Dan Petrie, Habitat for Humanity International’s associate director of congressional relations

Far too many families around the world lack regular and direct access to clean water, some relying on makeshift distribution systems like this tangle of hoses in an informal settlement in Quezon City, Philippines.

When your alarm buzzed this morning (or maybe after hitting snooze a few times), you probably headed for the bathroom, used the toilet, washed your hands and brushed your teeth. If you’re like me, you then fumbled around with the coffee pot, filling it with the water that flows freely from your kitchen faucet. After downing the first cup, perhaps you let the shower heat up for a few minutes to take the edge off the early spring air.

That’s a lot of water already, and the day has just begun. On average, Americans use 100 gallons of water every day.

For many around the world, it’s a different story. Nearly 748 million people lack access to clean water, and 2.5 billion people lack proper sanitation. On average, residents in sub-Saharan Africa consume only two to five gallons of water per day.

With World Water Day around the corner, take a moment to reflect on how fundamental water is not just to our comfort but to our very survival and recognize that, for millions, access can be a daily struggle. Recognizing that basic services are an essential part of adequate housing, Habitat for Humanity leads water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives all around the globe, including in locations such as Ethiopia, Haiti and India.

In December, the U.S. government took an important step to address lack of access by passing the Paul Simon Water for the World Act, an aid reform bill focused on improving transparency, decision-making and investments in water and sanitation. Water for the World recognizes the impact that improved access has on poverty reduction and global health and aims to ensure that U.S. investments are smart, efficient and reach those most in need.

In recognition of World Water Day, Habitat is joining #Blue4Water and encouraging others to show support for clean water by wearing blue on Friday, March 20. The ask is simple: Help us raise awareness of the need for improved access to water and sanitation by wearing an article of blue clothing, taking a selfie, and posting it to Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram using the #Blue4Water and #WorldWaterDay hashtags. Follow along, and encourage friends and family to join in.

Together, we can realize the goal of ensuring that everyone has access to clean water and sanitation.