How long can the average human survive without water?
Usually, only three days. It’s one of the most essential elements for survival. We drink it, bathe in it, sweat it out, swim through it and cook with it. So when there’s no clean water available, it can mean the difference between life and death.
How big is the problem?
Really big. In figures released by WHO
785 million people live without access to improved clean water services
categorised as drinkable water available within 30 minutes round-trip walking distance. If like us, you find that hard to translate into real terms, 785 million is a little over the population of Europe.
This shocking statistic includes 435 million people collecting water from wells and springs and 144 million people using surface water from ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, meaning they have no running water and are reliant on untreated and unprotected water supplies. Only 57% of the world’s population has close proximity to running water, a privilege that we believe should be a right - and sometimes it’s so dirty it’s not drinkable.
Two billion people around the world rely on drinking water contaminated with faeces (yuck!) That’s pretty scary, but it’s not the worst thing lurking in dirty water. There’s also the risk of Guardia, malaria, typhoid, polio, cholera and dysentery, and the deadly impact of diarrhoea, which is estimated to cause 485,000 deaths each year. Add to these the effect of dehydration and poor hygiene services, and it’s a disastrous combination.
Little things make a big difference when it comes to clean water and sanitation. According to the UN, 6 in 10 people lack access to safely managed sanitation facilities. Being able to wash hands with soap and clean water has a ripple effect on public health, as does the introduction of simple latrines to reduce public defecation, in turn decreasing faecal contamination and related diseases.
Access to clean water has a knock-on effect on communities. People spend less money on medicine and visits to doctors. Less time sick from school means students can focus on their goals and education. It also particularly affects the lives of women in society. According to the UN, in 80% of households without on-premises water, women and girls take on the burden of water collection. It’s an extra pressure that can hold women back from spending time and energy on their work, education, and families.
There’s some good news. In the decades between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the global population using an improved drinking water source has increased from 76% to 90%, a testament to the efforts of NGOs, governments, communities and individuals. But there’s still work to be done. As the world’s population increases and climate-driven water scarcity begins to bite, we need to act fast to create water equality.
Project PARGO was born out of our first-hand experience of communities where clean water is unavailable, and we made it our mission to do all we can to close that gap. We’ve teamed up with our mates at Waves for Water to provide water filtration systems that can affect real change in communities. Waves for Water focuses on projects that are long-term and sustainable and monitors these projects to ensure their goals of consistent water supply are being met.
Waves for Water supply us with Sawyer Point ZeroTwo filtration systems, which are capable of filtering 170 gallons (643 litres) of water a day. This system uses foam absorption technology to remove 99.997% of viruses and 99.99999% of bacteria, protozoa, and cysts, as well as ridding the water of all microplastics. The best part of this system is that it’s super easy to install and maintain: no electricity needed, just gravity. It adapts to a faucet, or it can be attached to a bucket in communities where there’s no running water.
We believe access to clean water is a fundamental human right, and so we established Project Pargo to fight waste and provide water to people who need it most.
Join us on our journey!