Eight hundred forty-four hundred million people are without access to clean water. A donation of twenty-five dollars has the capacity to give one person clean water for life. “We are living in the global water crisis,” says junior Arjun Vij. “Access to clean water, or the lack thereof, can dramatically transform society.”
Vij became aware of the global water crisis in ninth grade on a trip to eSwatini with the Academy of Global Studies, where he saw and talked to members of a community that lacked access to clean water. “I was appalled,” he says. “Obviously, when people are forced to use dirty water, there are all sorts of water borne diseases, and hygiene is a problem. Beyond that, communities without access to clean water can’t send their children to school, or get jobs, because they have to spend so much time searching for and collecting water.”
Aside from working with organizations that are dedicated to ending the water crisis, Vij decided to author a book about the crisis, specifically targeted at preteens, whom he believes are the best audience to generate change. “I want to show kids that not everyone in the world has the same luxury as them,” he says. “They go, you know, turn on their faucet, [and they] instantly [have] clean water.” But the rest of the world doesn’t have that kind of luxury, and if they “can know that at a younger age, when they get to be older, they can have the resources to make change.” Those resources include being able to educate people about the water crisis, as well as donating and volunteering for organizations like the Thirst Project and water.org.
The book, In Bad Water, opens with the story of two siblings, Sanyu and Masani, who awaken to the news that they are out of water and they must skip school to go fetch water for their family. It details the hardships of their quest to find water, as well as the complications that arise from the strain of the journey and drinking unclean water. The writing process took about a year and was begun at the onset of the pandemic in March. Per the UN, Vij says, “clean water is a human right. That’s what I hope to impart to [my readers.]”
In Bad Water will be out at the end of May, and available for purchase on amazon.com. More information is available at www.inbadwater.com and @inbadwater on Instagram.