Sustainable Community Development Blog - Sustainable Community Development The perils of dirty water Time-consuming: Many people in Uganda drink from water sources which are shared with animals, or are used for washing cars. To access clean water people frequently have to walk around two kilometres and queue for an hour or more. Disease: 75% of diseases in Uganda are caused by a lack of clean water and proper sanitation. In Africa as a whole, 2000 children die of diarrhoea every day caused by drinking dirty water. Diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation kill more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. HIV: 67% of the world’s HIV population live in Africa. People with immune systems weakened by HIV are particularly vulnerable when they don’t have clean water. A study in rural Uganda found that when people living with HIV had access to safe water they experienced 25% fewer episodes of diarrhoea. Dehydration: In Uganda children can spend a whole day at school without a drink. The implications of this are huge as dehydration affects brainpower – and just at a time when kids are meant to be learning. Statistically, a loss of 2% of body fluids causes 20% reduction in performance in both physical and mental activities in children. Physical danger: Children often spend their evenings (or early mornings) walking long distances, unsupervised, to collect water, finding themselves at risk of attack, including rape. Impedes development: Women also spend precious hours collecting water when they could be using their time for essential financial gain. Girls often get to school late in the morning because they are busy collecting water, and they often don’t have time to do homework in the evening for the same reason. Access to water underpins personal, family and national development. Deforestation: Firewood is used to boil water to reduce impurities. Chopping trees for firewood is leading to long-term environmental degradation in Uganda and the pace of deforestation and population growth is such that experts predict that within 32 years supplies of firewood will have largely run out.