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Humans have basic physiological needs. These include the need to breathe, to eat, to regulate body temperature, to dispose of bodily wastes, to sleep, and to have access to clean water. Humans need clean water to drink, for cleaning, cooking, and waste disposal.

A global problem Almost every continent has areas that lack safe drinking water. Rural areas of developing countries and overpopu-lated urban areas often have inadequate supplies of safe drinking water. Even though adequate supplies of this natural resource may exist globally, it is not distributed evenly. In addition, naturally occurring contaminants and pollution from human impact can make a water supply unhealthy.

Safe water The World Health Organization (WHO) defines safe drinking water as water from a source that is less than 1 km away from where it is used; that at least 20 L of water per member of the household per day can be obtained reliably; and that meets the national standards for microbial and contaminant levels.

Health concerns In developing countries, children are at the greatest risk for water-related diseases. Worldwide, more than 5000 children under the age of five die each day from water-related diseases. The most common health concerns from contaminated water are diarrhea and intestinal worms.

Water Related Diseases
Contaminated water can be a problem in developed countries as well as developing countries. This beach is closed because of unsafe water.

Another danger from contaminated water, especially for children, is intestinal parasites. Parasites that live in the intestines of the host, humans in this case, can cause malnutrition, anemia, and other illnesses.

A global solution The inability to adequately supply this basic human need has been acknowledged by the United Nations as one of the greatest failures of the twentieth century. The United Nations has created an international task force to help fund the creation of sanitation systems and water purifiers. In the future, with effort and global cooperation, every human being might have access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation.

Diarrhea is a common condition caused by bacteria often found in unsafe drinking water. Without proper treatment, diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration and death, especially in children. In developed countries, children suffering from diarrhea often receive the necessary treatment. However, in developing countries, diarrhea accounts for the death of nearly 2 million children each year.

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Brochure March 22 is World Water Day. Create a brochure explaining the need for such an event and why more people should participate. For more information on World Water Day, visit

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