Blog Action Day - Water, Water Everywhere

Today is Blog Action Day 2010.  That means that a network of bloggers around the world are blogging about a subject that is near and dear to all our hearts:  water.

Water has to be the most incredible substance in the universe.  Chemically, it's a solvent and a lubricant.  It's one of the few chemicals that is less dense as a solid than a liquid, which is why ice floats.  And it's a good thing it does, otherwise lakes, ponds and oceans would freeze from the bottom up, and would not be able to support life.

Water is used in the production of almost every food product we eat.  The huge amount of water on the surface and in the atmosphere is what regulates Earth's temperature and allows us to live here. The unique chemical properties of water allow it to have such strong surface tension that tiny insects can walk on it, and massive ships can float on it.

The single most important discovery to man's exploration of the solar system would be extraterrestrial water.  It all begins there.  An Indian orbiter and a NASA probe recently discovered that there are millions of tons of water ice on the Moon, which could be used to generate oxygen and make fuel.  The discovery has potentially opened the door to the heavens.

Yet for all water's wonders, and the fact that it covers 71% of the Earth's surface, clean water is still beyond the reach of millions of people the world over.  890 million, in fact. Only 3% of the water on Earth is freshwater, and of that, only 0.3% is surface water, and only 2% of that is river water, which is the easiest to distribute and most accessible.  But the problem is not finding the water; the problem is getting the water to where it's needed.

According to, on average 200 million labor hours per day are spent bringing water from available sources to where it is needed.  That is more labor hours per day than the weekly wordwide labor hours of Wal*Mart, UPS, IBM, McDonalds, Target and Kroger. Most of that work is done by women, carrying water from rivers and wells to their homes, an average of 3.7 miles a day.  What a waste of productivity.

More people in the world have cell phones than a toilet.  Fecal bacteria in drinking water costs the life of a child every twenty seconds. What a waste of potential.

There's no magic pill.  We have all the technology we need to bring every person on the planet a clean, plentiful supply of water.  The problem - of course - is money.  Simply put, it only costs about $25 to supply one person clean water for a lifetime. But we are talking almost a billion people.  You see the problem.

So what can you do?  You can visit and educate yourself, and donate $25 to change someone's life.  You can partner with a group like Compassion International and sponsor a child, part of which goes toward water management projects.  You can conserve water where you can, which lowers your water bills and increases the supply of fresh water.  You can recycle and help keep the environment clean, which decreases pollution in freshwater.  Or perhaps you can give some of your time and travel to a developing country and help build a well or water distribution system.  (I guarantee that will change your life!)

One of the ways that Christ describes himself is as "living water."  (John 7:38) Isn't it fitting as Christians that we work toward providing clean water for all God's children?


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