Water Is Life: An Interview with Ken Surritte on Water Scarcity

June 28, 2016

Water is one of the basic necessities of our life. We use it almost unknowingly and this can lead to significant waste and water scarcity. Our food, beverages, and basic hygienic needs revolve around water. As much as developed countries rely on water, other countries rely on it just as much. However, the major difference is that one part of the equation values water, while the other takes it for granted. We always hear about how much water we should drink daily, but we don’t hear much about the amount of water we are wasting, water scarcity, or how we can reduce usage.

Today, I am going to change that. I’m going to educate you on the serious issues we are facing concerning water. Recently, Better World International’s CEO and founder, Pawel Nazaruk, had a chance to sit down with water expert, Ken Surritte. He is the founder and CEO of Water is Life. An organization that provides clean water solutions around the world. Ken Surritte, has dedicated his whole life to helping at-risk children in 3rd world communities.

Why is water scarcity a problem?

A staggering fact Ken shared was, “Today 6,000 people will die because they don’t have clean water, 5,000 of them are children.” This is an amazing fact that Pawel clarified to make sure that he understood correctly. There was no mistake in the numbers, he cited. Ken went into further detail as he explained that the main contributors to these statistics are water scarcity and water purity. He explained how there isn’t enough water in certain parts of the world, and where water does exist it may not be clean drinkable water.

Another eye-opening fact that Ken mentioned was, “80 percent of the people that are in hospitals in developing countries are there because of waterborne disease.” As you can see, this is a huge problem that has serious consequences. Most of us don’t drink enough water and dread trying to fit in eight glasses a day. However, in developing areas they would love to have access to less than half of that.

In addition to illnesses, some of the other things that water shortages can cause are lead problems, due to old infrastructure, and food problems as water is used to make food. I bet you didn’t know that hundreds of gallons of water are used to make only one pound of ground beef.

As you think about the issues of water scarcity, you may wonder how is this even an issue. You look at a map and see the earth is comprised of mostly water. This is possible because although the earth is covered in water, according to Ken, only about 1% of the water is drinkable. This is due to the fact that 97% of the water is salt water, and 2% is in the polar ice caps. Due to large populations, Ken stated, “we have seven and a half billion people all drinking 1% of the fresh water that’s available on the surface.”

This leads to the question, can we make some of the non-drinkable water drinkable? Well, the answer is, technically, yes. However, in doing so, we will also be causing more harm than good. This is because the actual process is very expensive, and will contribute about three gallons of toxic waste per gallon of clean water. The good thing is, some better alternatives are expected to be available in about a year, so more clean water may be available soon.Why are we facing this problem?

Why are we facing this water crisis?

The water situation got this way, mainly because of the carelessness of the inhabitants of our world. Our waste is thrown out and contaminates rivers and other water sources, which causes illnesses. We also haven’t been effectively improving infrastructure, as some dams are over 100 years old. Water is already a big problem that is growing. Currently, we need about a liter of water per day to properly hydrate our brain. Compare that to the 8 ounces of mostly polluted water that a developing country receives, if they are lucky.

What is being done, and what can you do today?

California is currently leading the way as they are addressing the water scarcity problem. This is being done through water rationing. Currently, their residents can’t water their lawns, wash their cars, and they are being asked to reduce washing dishes and toilet flushing. It is unfortunate that the situation has come to this, but these are just a few things that California is doing to address this problem.

As you can see, if this water scarcity situation isn’t addressed we would face serious consequences. Ken Surritte did a great job at explaining the problem as well as some of the things that can be done to help. Some areas are beginning to address this issue and are working to improve water conditions. The easiest thing we can do is to be more aware of our water usage and cut back. Water is increasingly becoming a luxury. Consequently, if we don’t address these problems, it will soon become a luxury undeveloped and developed countries can’t afford.

Here are 5 easy steps you can take to make an impact and stop water scarcity today:

  1. Reduce our water usage (reduce shower times, car washing, watering grass, etc.).
  2. Reduce flushing where appropriate. As every time we flush the toilet, it uses about 5 gallons of water.
  3. Donate to worthy organizations such as Water is Life to help advance water purification efforts.
  4. Get involved in water purification efforts through various companies or organizations such as the Melinda & Bill Gates Foundation, who has found a way to make drinkable water out of feces.
  5. Take the issue personally. This is for those of you who are really moved to do something great. This means studying the problem more intently and dedicating a part of your life to addressing the problem. This could be working to make new inventions and find new innovative ways to address our water problems.

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