The Christian Science Monitor recently noted that for the first time in history, the world’s glass is literally half full. According to World Health Organization and UNICEF statistics, about 700 million people in the developing world have gained access to safe drinking water in their residence, pushing the percentage of people with access to drinking water in their homes to more than 50 percent of the entire world population for the first time ever.
This has led to a number of related improvements in quality of life. The obvious improvement is a decline in hygeine-related diseases. Although it hasn’t kept up with the advance in drinking water availability, improvements in sanitation in the developing world have also helped reduce the incidence of such diseases.
Another important advantage is the empowerment of women. For many women in developing countries, obtaining enough safe drinking water is a task which can take up to an entire working day. The Christian Science Monitor notes, for example, that in Tanzania, women might walk four to six hours to obtain safe drinking water for themselves and their families. With women no longer devoting so much time simply obtaining water, they are able to devote themselves to other projects.
Finally, the world’s drinking glass is more than half full. G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Christian Science Monitor, December 30, 2004.