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Today, as a part of the Rio+20 Conference, the United Nations is hosting Water Day, which seeks to illustrate and address the critical challenges related to water management while connecting those issues to the work of Rio+20.

Water is also one of the seven critical issues the UN defined for the conference, and the UN Water website describes why:

Water is at the foundation of sustainable development as it is the common denominator of all global challenges: energy, food, health, peace and security and poverty eradication.

Unfortunately, water demand is rising globally while water supplies are certainly not. According to the UN, 800 million people around the world don't have access to safe drinking water. Another 2.5 billion don't have access to sanitation.

Heifer's project participants are often a part of that 800 million and/or 2.5 billion, and for them, securing access to a safe, reliable water supply is a daily challenge.

The video below is an example of one community's struggle to find water. Morante is a part of the dry forest landscape in northern Peru, and water is scarce. The nearest water source is a well that was drilled by an oil company but found only water, not oil. That well is a six-hour round trip away from Morante.

Heifer Peru has worked with Morante and nearby communities through multiple projects since 2004 and has provided donkeys and tools for more efficient water collection, like water barrels and carts, in addition to small livestock like goats and training. The community is currently attempting to dig their own through the support of Heifer and the local government.

Morante is just one community that is struggling to survive because of a lack of water. People all over the world are dealing with the same issue at this very moment. Heifer is working with many communities to make sure they have access to water, but this problem will persist unless governments and organizations worldwide unite to find solutions. Hopefully, world leaders will come together this week to do their part to address important water issues at Rio+20.


Note: The video above is a part of an hour-long documentary produced by Heifer Peru.


Jason Woods

Jason Woods is from Stillwater, Oklahoma, and has worked for the Americas Area Program of Heifer International since 2010. He has a master’s in cultural geography and a bachelor’s in news-editorial journalism. His passion for Heifer’s work started as a teenager, when he spent a weekend at Heifer Ranch’s Global Village in Perryville, Arkansas.