Access to clean water and decent sanitation.

A global overview

Water is a daily essential for drinking, bathing/santiation, cooking, and washing clothes. However, billions of people still don’t have access to safe drinking water, or to a hygienic toilet. This exacerbates the spread of diseases like cholera and diarrhea, which cause millions of preventable childhood deaths every year.

A global perspective on water and sanitation from the UN Sustainability Development goals

While substantial progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation, billions of people—mostly in rural areas—still lack these basic services. Worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water, and more than 673 million people still practice open defecation.

Water is essential not only to health, but also to poverty reduction, food
security, peace and human rights, ecosystems and education. Nevertheless, countries face growing challenges linked to water
scarcity, water pollution, degraded water-related ecosystems and cooperation over trans-boundary water basins.

40 per cent shortfall in freshwater resources by 2030 coupled with a rising world population has the world careening towards a global water crisis. Recognizing the growing challenge of water scarcity the UN General Assembly launched the Water Action Decade on 22 March 2018, to mobilize action that will help transform how we manage water.

How is digital tech relevant to water?

Areas of tension

These are the issues, negative impacts and concerns collectively raised by the attendees from our pilot workshops.

For the digital tech workforce
  • All the global population issues are relevant to the workforce.
For the global population
  • Water that could be used for people, or to support agriculture or biodiversity is used to cool data centers instead.
  • Extracting/mining raw materials for use in tech, and manufacturing in general creates chemical pollution in water which can prevent populations from accessing clean and safe water.

How can we nudge these tensions for the better?

Grounds for hope

These are visions and ideas for change collectively raised by the attendees from our pilot workshops.

For the digital tech workforce
  • Implement alternatives to water cooling systems for data centers.

For the global population

  • Protecting our resources, holding tech companies accountable.
  • Tech enabled Subak water system.

Keen to learn more?

If you’d like to explore these issues yourself, either as an individual or with your work colleagues, why not run your own workshop?

Our workshop methodology is open source and available for anyone to use for free. Alternatively you can hire trusted professionals to facilitate the process on your behalf.