India (MNN) — Water scarcity: on a basic level, it’s defined as the “lack of sufficient water resources to meet the demands of water usage within a region.”
According to the UN’s latest World Water Development Report, approximately a dozen nations face absolute water scarcity, while another 16 countries– including India–are under “stress.”
Literal water scarcity
Over 780 million people–11% of the world’s population–lack access to safe drinking water. Approximately 16% of those 780 million people live in India.
“Water scarcity is becoming a much bigger problem,” admits India Partners’ Donna Glass.
“Diarrhea is the second most-common cause of death of children under the age of five in India, and that’s mostly because they have poor water.
“That water is often times green or black, with stagnant leaves or dung in [it] — but that’s the only water they have.”
On a national level, India’s leaders are looking to Israel for help.
Clean water technology, desalination plants, and drip-irrigation are helping introduce solutions to India’s water scarcity challenges.
On the village level, India Partners is digging wells and introducing WAter, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) training.
In some cases, it’s about more than meeting a physical need.
Spiritual water scarcity
In several remote villages where India Partners works, there is no receptivity to Christianity or the Gospel.
However, “The fact that we (Christians) have come in and actually brought water to them, have drilled a well…they become open to having somebody come in and share the Gospel,” says Glass.
The WASH training acts as an “icebreaker,” introducing the message of Christ’s redemption by integrating it with practical applications. Curriculum provided by Lifewater explains how original sin of Adam and Eve resulted in a broken world.
It includes Scripture explaining how Christ was sent to redeem and restore man’s relationship with God. Restoration isn’t limited to villagers’ relationship with God, though: just as salvation though Christ restores a person’s relationship with the Lord, clean water restores a person’s physical health.