March 22 marks World Water Day. It’s a day organized by the United Nations aimed at tackling the water crisis in developing nations. According to the U.N.: “1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.” Water.org is one of the organizations heavily involved in the effort to bring access to clean water to the billions who currently don’t have it.
Back in 2015, we spoke with water.org’s CEO and co-founder Gary White about the problem. While water.org and others are helping to fight the water crisis through charitable contributions and philanthropy, White says that won’t be enough. Capital investment will play a large role in solving the problem, he says:
“Investment is critical because if we look at what it would take at the macro level to get water and sanitation who lacks it right now and to maintain that infrastructure it’s about $1 trillion. Right now there’s less than $10 billion going in to this… there’s never going to be enough philanthropy, charity, aid to solve this problem. When you look at it from that perspective you recognize those investments from the top down do need to happen, but they are going to have to be suplemented from the bottom up.”
Watch the video above for our edited discussion with White about the role of capital investment in solving the water crisis.