The Water Crisis


Almost fifty per cent of the developing world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities, and over 884 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more. (WHO/UNICEF)

Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have many other serious repercussions. Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water. Poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness, health systems are overwhelmed and national economies suffer. Without WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), sustainable development is impossible. (UNICEF)

About 4,500 children die each day from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation facilities. Countless others suffer from poor health, diminished productivity and missed opportunities for education. (UNICEF)

The young and the old are particularly vulnerable. Over 90 per cent of deaths from diarrhoeal diseases due to unsafe water and sanitation in the developing world occur in children below 5 years old. (UNICEF)

The poor are especially hard hit. A child born in Europe or the United States is 520 times less likely to die from diarrhoeal disease than an infant in sub-Saharan Africa, where only 36 per cent of the population can access hygienic sanitation. (UNICEF)

Women and girls are the “water haulers” of the world. On average, women and girls in developing countries walk 5 kilometers a day, carrying 20 litres of water, greatly reducing the time they have for other productive work or for girls to attend school.

Improving household drinking water can reduce diarrhoea episodes by as much as 39 per cent; on average, improvements to household sanitation facilities can reduce sickness from diarrhoea by almost a third. Almost half of the nearly 2 million deaths from diarrhoea each year could be prevented through an understanding of basic hygiene.

Roundabout Water Solutions has helped to alleviate a small part of this problem by supplying over 640 schools and communities in South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi with borehole water that has been tested by recognized laboratories and confirmed to be fit for human consumption.

Roundabout Water Solutions’ aim is to provide a low maintenance, reliable source of drinking water on a sustainable basis. Sustainability is a key issue for us. There is no doubt a place in the solution to the water crisis for the various types of hand pumps that are available, however, there is also no getting away from the fact that the African continent is literally littered with broken hand pumps that communities either do not have the money, knowledge or motivation to fix.