Do You Take Drinking Water for Granted?

Editor’s Note: This is a post in dedication to Blog Action Day, an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is water.

water glassImagine working outside in the heat of the day with sweat dripping down your back. Think about taking a long run in the middle of summer. Picture yourself hiking up a strenuous mountain with the sun beating on your face.

Now, imagine doing all these activities with very little or any water. For most of us living in developed countries, this scene may seem hard to picture.

Why would I do any of these vigorous activities without water? Why would I not go to the faucet to fill up my water bottle or tall glass with water?

Well, maybe you wouldn’t. But, some countries do not have that option.

There are some places in the world that drinking out of a faucet is not an option unless one wants to get violently ill. Some places do not even have indoor plumbing.

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.

So, what do they do when they are thirsty? Good question.

5 Interesting Facts about Water

1. Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Unclean drinking water can incubate some pretty scary diseases, like E. coli, salmonella, cholera and hepatitis A. Given that bouquet of bacteria, it’s no surprise that water, or rather lack thereof, causes 42,000 deaths each week.

2. More people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet. Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets. This means that sewage spills into rivers and streams, contaminating drinking water and causing disease.

3. Every day, women and children in Africa walk a combined total of 109 million hours to get water. They do this while carrying cisterns weighing around 40 pounds when filled in order to gather water that, in many cases, is still polluted. Aside from putting a great deal of strain on their bodies, walking such long distances keeps children out of school and women away from other endeavors that can help improve the quality of life in their communities.

4. It takes 6.3 gallons of water to produce just one hamburger. Those 6.3 gallons cover everything from watering the wheat for the bun and providing water for the cow to cooking the patty and baking the bun. And that’s just one meal! It would take over 184 billion gallons of water to make just one hamburger for every person in the United States.

5. The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world. From showering and washing our hands to watering our lawns and washing our cars, Americans use a lot of water. To put things into perspective, the average fivdrinking watere-minute shower will use about 10 gallons of water. Now imagine using that same amount to bathe, wash your clothes, cook your meals and quench your thirst.

It seems water is something many people take for granted. Not everyone can go to the local grocery store and pick up a gallon or two of clean water. Not everyone can afford expensive filter systems in their homes. Not everyone can drink from a faucet without risking his or her life.

Imagine how these poor countries feel when they realize we are wasting gallons of water to accommodate our “filtered water” palates when they would risk everything for a glass of semi-clean tap water. It is shameful.

Think about that next time you leave the water on while brushing your teeth, take a 20-minute shower, or leave the hose on.

That’s all I am asking. Just think about it. And don’t take it for granted.

About Julie McElroy

Julie writes for Inspired to Write where she offers tips, resources, and writing inspiration for writers and bloggers. She is also a freelance writer for various websites and blogs.


  1. And how far down the ‘rabbit hole’ would we all like to go.. “Twinkle twinkle little Star, how I wonder what you (& we) are?” All this as I watch the DVD ‘Pink Floyd, Live at Pompeii’ once again…
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  2. I completely agree with you that we had to be more conscious about our use of resources, particularly water. The water that we use everyday generally comes from underground layers, which are not refilled as fast as they are used. So our irresponsible consumption may lead to great problems for us and for our children.

    Still I think that the figure in the fifth point – 159 gallons of water every day – are calculated with the water necessary to produce food that we consume per day, which connect to point 4. If it’s not, I just cannot believe that a single person can waste so much water.
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  3. Great post. Today people are not use to take water as regularly as they need to. Due to that they are getting some disorders in their body and they have to go through some medical treatment although they can prevent it by taking the required amount of water they need in their daily routine. I am quite thankful to you for the tips that you have posted….

  4. Thank you for letting us know about the facts of drinking water and how much important it is to drink water. I really like the facts that you have shared with us and it seems that we should start to look in to our water and try to take only and only clean water. I admire your post…..

  5. Quite interesting facts about drinking water and i am sure that everyone now take these facts seriously and they would start to drink only and only clean water regularly. Thank for that useful post…

  6. I am quite sure that by saving water we could save our planet as more and more water would be available for forest and for other purposes. And we should try to utilize sewerage water that can be filtered at home using some filter plant to water our garden and to grow our daily need of vegetables there too….

  7. I am impressed with your post and it seems that you keep a close eye on the water issues. I am quite sure that after reading this anyone can protect himself from the harmful diseases that are caused by the unsafe drinking water and hopefully people who used to consume more water could be able to change their habits also.. Thanks for sharing such nice tips with us…..

  8. I am quite impressed with the post that you have shared with us. I am really shocked that there are places where there is no clean water and even not a drop of water for the people to drink and on the other side “The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day” which is about 15 times more than a person used in the developing world. So we should start to make some difference and starting today will ensure the future…..

  9. A very nice post to read and i am quite impressed with the post. I am shocked that the people have more access to the cellphone than to a toilet because of some facts that we never thought like they are not use to go to toilet or they think that getting a communication devices is much better than to built a toilet for hygienic purpose which we have to change. And the other facts are also very important, but it is our main duty to change their mindset and make them aware of keeping them self hygienic and clean. Thanks for starting it….

    • Yes, in some ways technology seems more readily available than food in water. I once saw a homeless guy in my town talking on his cell phone… I guess it was a pay as you go…. anyhow, technology will continue to get made, but someday our natural resources may run out and then we will be in real trouble!

  10. Thanks for imparting these interesting facts about water Julie.. Water is one of the most important resources that we need in order to live. Not everyone has given equal chances of using water for drinking, bathing, washing etc. that is why we must be thankful if we have bounty of it. We must know how to conserve water and must not take it for granted. Excellent post!

  11. Water is important like food, it is one of the primary needs of every human. For me, its better to eat meal twice or once a day than not to take water every time you are thirsty or you need to. So we should take water if needed and not take it for granted..thanks for posting such nice blog.
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  12. This is the first time I read your blog and I am amaze the way you share information and to be an advocate on saving water resources is really a noble deed. It is true that even the water in faucet is not safe to drink. Maybe there are people doesn’t really understand the importance of water in once life. One drop of water that being wasted is already equivalent to one dying life. Thanks for your post and You really done a great job. God Bless You and Have a great day!

  13. Interesting facts about drinking water! As we all know life survival depends a lot on water. Water is very important especially with almost every process that takes place within our body. We should be aware of the importance of clean and safe drinking water in our health.The more fresh water we drink, the healthier we become.Thanks for the great post!
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  14. This is one of the best blogs I have seen on the web so far as I do browsing this day. Though 3/4 of our planet is composed of water, we should not still take it for granted. All things end on its own time and maybe gone were the days no more water for all of us.. I got inspired with your post because you made emphasize the importance and vitality of water in our lives. This is a good topic to discuss indeed. Actually I am an environmental advocate. My advocacy is to preserve the mother Earth through following simple environmental concerns just like with what you would like to drive out with us with your post. Water is very necessary, ins’t it? Thus, let’s not take it for granted instead preserve a safe, clean and pure water. Thanks a lot! I join with you for the campaign of preserving clean and safe water. People of different walks of life must be aware of this..More Power!!

    • Thank you very much for the kind words! I originally wrote this post for Blog Action day, but learned a valuable reminder about the importance of water resources. We only have on mother earth and we should take care of it and its resources! Thank you for stopping by!

  15. Water is one of the significant things here on earth. We can’t live without water, that’s why we need to save it and not to be taken for granted. Thank you for this wonderful and informative article. I had a great time reading it.

  16. Articles like these scare me, we humans don’t deserve to drink water :(

  17. If history teaches us anything…it’s that we…humans never learn from our mistakes.Only when things get desparate and there is no hope left at all,that’s when we wake up…and it’s already way to late.

    An excelent article…with this many “Donate for the poor” and “Feed the hungry” etc foundations,organisations…and there are still people in the world that die of thirst and hunger.How is this posible in a century of information and technology?

    We really need to open our eyes…and try to save the world

  18. It is totally alarming to know that the people from Africa will walk all the way just to get water. Water is important in our lives and everyone should have an easy access to it, I know that Africa is a poor country, but isn’t it that their government, no matter how difficult it is should care for the welfare of this people?

    A person can live without a food for days, but cannot without water.
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  19. Thanks Julie for providing such an informative post.I have seen many people who don’t get fresh water to drink.AT the same times wastage of clean water is increasing per day.I would like to suggest Govt to take some serious measure for this.

  20. What is even more ridiculous is that the gov places fluoride in water to “help” people.
    People need to research fluoride, and realize it’s a by-product from commercial operation that years ago the gov. made a deal with to help dispose of. Guess what! It’s now in your drinking water, and has been linked to many dangerous health issues.
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  21. Of course not! Water can be a lot of help in eliminating toxins in our body. It eliminates bad bacteria that causes us to get sick, it is through urinating and defecating. It also aids those people who were constipated and suffer a lot from diarrhea. We can get a lot of health benefits in drinking water. So, I encourage everyone to increase all your fluids intake.
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  22. A very enlightening post this is as it accounts the great and humiliating figures.Water is taken for granted in many places and this attitude should be abandoned.
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  23. A very focused and sincere post. We have to think about it. Nice coverage of each topic that we usually missed or we don’t care specially first point about drinking unsafe water and the ratio and value that you are using is really pointed that this post needs a lot of time to you to write. A very informative and nice post. Hoping for best in future.
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  24. I totally agree with you…water is not just something that we drink, it is really essential for us to survive. it is better if you take more than 6 glasses of plain water everyday to avoid any illness. isn’t it?
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  25. Great article. Another problem with water waste is small plastic bottles of water being sold as a commodity. Also all the extra water it takes to make small plasic bottles then there is waste from them in our landfills and other places. Water should only be avalible in bulk unless used in emergency locations like what happen in new orleans.

  26. Completely guilty of leaving it running when brushing my teeth. And how many times have I watered the lawn to have it rain the next day. I have to get better at this.
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  27. I totally agree with you here. We cannot even imagine the plight of the people who don’t have access to even clean water, leave alone drinking water. We take it for granted as our generation thinks it comes from the tap, never thinking what a precious resource it is. every individual has to take a step ahead in order to conserve water which will sure go a long way to help the underprivileged.
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  28. It’s important to teach our children not to waste water. If you don’t tell your kids to turn it off while brushing their teeth, how would they know? Water is just like electricity in the 1st world: It is always there, and there is no effort necessary to turn on the water or put a plug in the socket, so few people think abou waste. We have to teach kids that not everyone in this world is as lucky as we are.

  29. i didn’t knew the fact about toilet and mobile phone that was a real eye opener… during my last visit to Indonesia i saw most of the people carrying 2 mobile phone.. i guess those guys are the reason for this stats…lol
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  30. Wyoming and Dimock, Pennsylvania: Here’s a fracking two-fer that garnered EPA involvement. In Pavillion, although an EPA abstraction affiliated fracking to groundwater contamination, the EPA claims that fracking didn’t necessarily alloy bubbler baptize wells, a point that was contradicted in a contempo abstraction by an absolute hydrologist who articular a bubbler baptize antecedent east of boondocks that had been attenuated by fracking. In Dimock, basic tests adumbrated that baptize wells that were allegedly attenuated by the fracking action were safe to drink. Affected association acquainted no alleviation though, because standards don’t abide for abounding of the contaminants.

  31. Water is very useful for life, thank you for the article
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  1. [...] 2010, to support Blog Action Day, I wrote a blog post about water concerns that other countries are faced with on a regular basis. As a U.S. citizen, lacking access to clean [...]

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