Thankful for Clean Water this Thanksgiving

By Kelly Nokes, Program Administrator —

As Thanksgiving approaches it is time to reflect on the many things to be grateful for in our lives. We often think of being grateful for the many people in our lives- our families and friendships, a warm home, plentiful food on the dinner table, and leading a fulfilling life. Sometimes overlooked in our society, however, is our ample access to clean, fresh, drinkable water available straight from our taps whenever we desire. With help from WaterAid America, I've pulled together a few facts to consider as you fill your water pitcher and place it on your Thanksgiving dinner table this week:

  • 884 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in eight of the world's population. (WHO/UNICEF)

  • 2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, this is almost two fifths of the world's population. (WHO/UNICEF)

  • 1.4 million children die every year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. This amounts to around 4,000 deaths a day or one every 20 seconds. (WHO)

  • The weight of water that women in Africa and Asia carry on their heads is commonly 40 pounds, the same as an airport luggage allowance.

  • The average North American uses 400 liters of water every day. 

  • The average person in the developing world uses 10 liters of water every day for their drinking, washing and cooking. (Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council)

  • An old lavatory uses at least nine liters of water a flush; a low-flush model uses as little as three liters. 

  • On current trends over the next 20 years humans will use 40% more water than they do now. (UN Environment Programme)

As you reflect on the things you are grateful for this Thanksgiving, don't omit your access to clean water. Water is essential to life and everyone should have a right to clean water. Together, we can conserve water and reduce pollution here in the Pacific Northwest for future generations. Drinkable, fishable, and swimmable waters - Riverkeeper is working to achieve this right for everyone. 

On a similar note, check out this article by former Waterkeeper Alliance Director Steve Fleischli: Top 10 Water-Related Things to be Grateful for this Thanksgiving

We wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!