Water changes everything

World Water Day is 22 March. This video explores the global water crisis, and how we can help everybody gain access to safe drinking water.

Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercises. You can also read the transcript.



Water. It's life's most basic need. But there's a water crisis in our world right now. Seriously, a crisis. Nearly one billion people live without clean drinking water. It's happening all over the world, especially in developing areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia and Latin America. It's a water crisis because it starts with water. But water affects everything – education, health, poverty, and especially women and children.

Let's look at a family caught in the water crisis. It's likely they live on less than a dollar a day. When they're thirsty they can't just turn on the faucet for a nice, cold glass of water – they don't have a faucet. Instead, the women and children go off to collect water. Many walk up to three hours a day to the nearest swamp, pond or river to gather water that's been sitting out in the open – exposed to all kinds of germs.

Time spent gathering water is time they can't spend learning to read, write, earn an income or take care of their family. Some women in Sub-Saharan Africa spend more time collecting water than any other activity they do in the day. And the walk isn't just hard, it's dangerous. The women are alone and burdened with 40 pounds [18 kg] of water. Many get hurt, sometimes they're even attacked. When they make it home, the little water they've collected isn't clean. Some families know their water is contaminated with germs that cause diarrhoea, dehydration, even death – but what choice do they have? Kids, especially babies, are affected most by these germs. About every 19 seconds, a mother loses one of her children to a water-related illness. And each day, almost a billion people are living this way. Until ... they get a little help.

The water crisis is solvable. There are solutions. Some are brand-new and innovative, like water filtration systems. Some are age-old, like drilled or hand-dug wells. These solutions bring clean water much closer to the people who need it. A safe water project near a village restores hours each day to a person's life. This time, it's opportunity. It's freedom to go to school and get an education, to work or start a business, to raise a family. Africa alone could save 40 billion hours each year – that's the entire annual workforce of France. Clean water means less disease. That's less money spent on medicine, which means more money for books and school uniforms. And if the water project is built near a school, it can increase attendance, especially among young girls.

The water crisis is vast, but we can solve it. Just 20 dollars can provide one person with access to a clean water project in their village. And this will mean more than clean water ... because water changes everything.

Join us.

© charity: water


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Submitted by Miguelitorico1996 on Sat, 29/01/2022 - 22:43


We could vote for politicians who are committed to solving this problem, that is, who have included the solution to this water crisis in their proposals. I live in Colombia and there is a region called La Guajira where many children die every day due to lack of water and food while the government steals public resources, so I think the Colombian government could help much more for those children.

Submitted by mcambindo22 on Sat, 10/10/2020 - 18:07

What more could you do to help solve the water crisis? Do you think governments could do more to tackle this issue? It is true, the Water crisis starts with water, but there is a water crisis because of lacking help from the government over the population whoever live in poverty and even lack of investment in areas where there are not opportunities to people can get good employment for parents and avoid that their children must back their up necessities. Nevertheless, this is a tricky and deep problem, because the men should support necessities in their homes, but the situation is women must support their homes and even their children. This has another problem and is the number of children per every single woman. It is amazing as large as can be the list of problems that can cause the water crisis and is worrying because people know around the problem how many problems there are to seek solutions, but only making glance over our things so that life is the humanity could become selfish.

Submitted by bawk san aung on Thu, 29/08/2019 - 08:32

I see no way our govern could tackle the water crisis. 60 billions population are staying in our country. But we don't have enough faucet to full fill all. If we go and carry with a vast to a swamp, we can get direct bacteria for instance of water of contamination.Because of that the percentage of poverty is having raise more annually. We can solve this problem only with the professional way for instance of including engineer, doctor and so forth.

Submitted by SULLE on Wed, 12/06/2019 - 18:45

I think we as an unity can make a change, everyone can make a diffrent. For instanse save water in the taucet while washing. We utse to buy much clothing also and instegs om wearing them they become useless laying in the clothet. To provide clothing much energy is needed and much water. If we bought less clothings we could actually decrease water crisis and raise the projekt to an international level.

Submitted by Akmal Karimov on Wed, 15/05/2019 - 11:10

We value the drinking water. Everyone should not waste excess water

Submitted by crisoleo32 on Fri, 05/04/2019 - 01:56

I'm not totally sure that anyone has already invented a rainwater cleaning system. I mean some kind of mechanism may be able to collect rainwater and turning its hydroxyl radiclas into drinkable water. I really don't know if there is such a thing. But it could be useful enough by decreasing the water crisis's predicaments in aroud the world. On governments. They have to provide a large amount of money no more than once, for a lifetime, to their nations for environmental scientists to make a kind of wastewater unit that will change the dirty water for clean water. Even though they have sent many water tanks since many years ago to these areas all over the world. The crisis continues and does not stop completly and the solutions are just damp cloths. Therefore, the remedy lies in using public funds for the development of environmental engineering. This science should be responsible with building a water purification system.

Submitted by SonuKumar on Fri, 29/03/2019 - 17:07

Sir, In this sentence, Most British people wouldn't fall for the spaghetti trick today taken from the second paragraph of an article about april's fool on this site. and in another sentence, The speaker in the recording has an American accent, and perhaps the way she pronounces 'can't' is less familiar to you than the way someone from the UK would pronounce it. I think the use of the model verb 'Would' is a probability and an expectation about what we commanly and normally expect people to do, right ? Can we also use 'Will' instead of would in these sentences ?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 31/03/2019 - 07:51

In reply to by SonuKumar

Hello SonuKumar, Replacing 'would' with 'will' here changes the meaning from a hypothetical sense to a real (likely) situation. We would only say '...people won't fall...' if we had reason to think that the trick would be performed again. Peter The LearnEnglish Team