Clean water is a necessity for human health. Yet millions of people around the world lack access to it, impacting everyday essentials from personal hygiene to economic stability. Most importantly, clean water is one of the main factors in good health. Without it, it’s impossible to stay physically and mentally well. 

Clean water plays a role in our general wellbeing. We know all about the adverse physical effects of lack of water. However, it’s essential to look at the bigger picture.

1. Physical Health

Clean water is essential to prevent dehydration, but its impact is much more extensive. The human body is 60% water, and this fluid has a part in every vital system, from digestion to brain health. Not only does water improve physical performance and give us energy, but it also protects our organs from damage and keeps our skin healthy. 

Severe dehydration can cause complications, such as heat injury and urinary and kidney issues. When your electrolytes are out of balance, electrical messages in the brain can get mixed up, leading to the potential for seizures. Plus, lack of water leads to low blood volume, an issue that induces a drop in blood pressure and the amount of oxygen in your body, a condition that can be life-threatening.

2. Mental Health

Most of us are familiar with the headache that accompanies mild dehydration. However, did you know that staying hydrated is also crucial for mental health and wellbeing? Our brain is mostly water, making it necessary for optimal functioning. Not consuming enough fluid can make it difficult to focus and impact our mood.

3. Personal Hygiene

Sanitation and hygiene are essential parts of human health. In our modern world, we come in contact with germs and toxins daily. Without public measures such as hand-washing stations and wastewater management, it’s difficult to remain healthy. Unfortunately, many people face high levels of exposure to disease without access to personal hygiene practices. 

Think of how many times per day you touch something that requires you to wash your hands. It’s necessary to go to the bathroom. You may grab a sticky can or box when grocery shopping. Even handling money brings you into contact with bacteria.

4. Food Consumption

Everyone eats. Even if you pick lettuce from your backyard garden, you likely wash it before eating. Water allows us to rinse food before consuming it, plus you typically use it in cooking. Water that’s contaminated, however, can, in turn, taint food. It can spread toxins and bacteria, some of which you can’t remove by boiling the water. Consuming contaminated food contributes to diarrhea, and can spread parasites like giardia. 

5. Economic Stability

Without clean water, it’s hard to live in an economically secure environment. Lacking this fluid limits access to opportunity. Without it, you can’t prepare yourself physically for work. Plus, if you are spending extra time getting water, you have less time to devote to a regular schedule. If your food and water sources are uncertain, it’s hard to focus on anything else.

Many businesses also want access to clean water when choosing where to set up operations. They’re more likely to opt for cities with fresh sources, boosting the area’s job availability and cash flow. For instance, Flint, Michigan, currently faces a water supply crisis. In the meantime, organizations looking to Flint as a potential relocation area are now less likely to chose it.

Water — The Essential Life Source

Clean water and health go hand-in-hand. Without this resource, simple everyday tasks become complicated or downright impossible. Life becomes more challenging if you can’t drink enough to keep your body and mind sound, have nowhere to wash your hands and can’t prepare food safely. Many communities that lack access to clean water also struggle with poverty issues. In this way, it’s an essential resource for not only our health but the prosperity of our communities.

By Emily Folk
Conservation and Sustainability Writer

Bio: Emily is a sustainability and eco-friendly living blogger. You can see her work on her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter.