Expanding Safe Water Access – An Urgent Global Need

By Silvia Cruz-Vargas, Sr. Manager, Global Citizenship & Sustainability at PepsiCo
Jul 26, 2018 11:00 AM ET

Originally published on LinkedIn

Perhaps it goes without saying: no resource is more vital to humanity than water. And yet, 844 million people—one in ten worldwide—do not have access to #cleanwater. And demand for water is on the rise. The facts speak for themselves:

1)     In many countries, taps, wells, and pipes delivering #cleanwater simply don’t exist. Even where they do, water supply services are often not affordable or accessible, or aren’t designed to last. Imagine your morning routine… without running water for a day.

2)    Two-thirds of the world’s population currently live in areas that experience water scarcity for at least one month a year and about half of those affected live in China and India. Imagine your morning routine… without running water for a month.

3)    By 2030, water availability will be half of what India needs. Now imagine your morning routine... without running water for a lifetime.

Water scarcity is a complex global issue with far-reaching implications, from hygiene and waterborne diseases to famine, migration, and even violence. As someone who grew up in a farm in a rural area in Colombia, I have experienced water scarcity since my formative years. We were “blessed” to have water for cooking, bathing, and cleaning. My grandfather repurposed water to grow our food and he carefully used every drop… until the well ran dry. When the well ran dry, we had to move to a peri-urban area and my childhood memories of the farm became a thing of the past.

Today as an adult who has spent nearly a decade developing the PepsiCo Foundation’s strategic investments to expand access to safe water, I know my personal experience is too common and that needed progress in increasing access to safe water requires a total systems approach. It takes cross-sector collaboration, local community engagement, education and long-term economic sustainability.

Last month, PepsiCo announced a $4.2 million grant to WaterAid, a leading international water and sanitation non-governmental organization, to provide #cleanwater access to communities in southern India facing extreme water shortages, and a $2 million grant to the China Women’s Development Foundation to improve environmental conditions near the Danjiangkou Water Reservoir, where water sources are often contaminated.

These latest investments are part of PepsiCo’s signature sustainability program, Performance with Purpose, which aims to create a healthier future for people and the planet. By 2025, our goal is to enable access to safe water to 25 million people. Working with partners, I am so proud we have already supported nearly 16 million people with safe water access in some of the most water-stressed places on earth.

The PepsiCo Foundation has invested more than USD $40 million in water to date, but we have much more work to do. We are laser-focused on collaborative, effective, local water solutions that make a sustainable difference to communities who need this precious resource. Let’s meet this urgent need together, so that families around the world have morning routines that include running water.