March 22, 2014 |

Water policies’ ripple effect

One young man works the handle of a water pump while another stations an orange bucket beneath the spigot.
How many times have you turned on the tap today? Photo: PATH.

“Think about all the ways you used water in your daily routine this morning,”  Rachel Wilson, PATH’s senior director of advocacy and public policy, writes on our sister blog, DefeatDD. “You probably showered, brushed your teeth, used the toilet, washed your hands—all before making a cup of coffee with water whose safety you assumed without question. It is easy to forget that we didn’t always have such immediate access to water in the United States.”

Today is World Water Day, a time to appreciate the vital importance of a clean, safe supply of a precious resource.

“Access to water, sanitation, and hygiene is particularly vital in the first five years of a child’s life, when pneumonia and diarrhea—the leading killer diseases of children globally—pose the greatest threat to underdeveloped immune systems,” Rachel writes. “In fact, if everyone had access to safe water, almost 90 percent of diarrhea deaths could be prevented.”

The power of policy

Rachel leads our global advocacy team, so it’s not surprising that she believes in the power of policies that prioritize public access to safe drinking water, clean toilets, and hand-washing facilities to improve health. These policies, she writes, “lead to laws that protect us daily, whether or not we realize it.”

Rachel has some intriguing ideas about how we can encourage access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene worldwide. Check out her full post on the DefeatDD blog.

Meantime, on this World Water Day, here’s to your health. Join us throughout the month of March for a virtual, worldwide toast. Simply take a photo of yourself (or with a group) raising a glass of water and share it on social media using the hashtag #cheerstoH2O.

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