Today, April 7, we celebrate “Health Day” around the world, an anniversary that gives us the opportunity to reflect on this right, but also on the obligation we have to work together to create the conditions that allow quality life for all.

One of the elements that most affects people’s health is undoubtedly the scarcity of clean water.

  • Today, every minute a child dies of diarrhea worldwide, and about 400 million children cannot go to school because of water-related diseases. Water scarcity is the leading cause of death during childbirth.
  • More than 140 million people could become “climate migrants” due to floods, droughts and water scarcity in the coming years
  • By 2025, about half of the world’s population could live in areas affected by water scarcity.
  • By 2040, one in four children will live in areas with severe water scarcity.

For those who do not face water scarcity on a regular basis, it is difficult to understand what it means, and it is equally difficult to believe that one day water will run out. After all, the Earth is covered with water, but only 0.3 percent of it is available for drinking.

We share with you an experience that can illustrate “how everything relates to everything,” as Pope Francis says, and the steps taken to reverse this situation.

The small community of Cristo Rey, Natalio, Itapuá, Paraguay consists of 327 people, and is located on the Guarani Aquifer on the banks of the Paraná River and is crossed by several streams that flow into the river. Apparently there is a lot of water.

Until mid-2023, families obtained water for their consumption from small wells, rainwater, or streams. Many of them, however, suffered from skin and gastric diseases, as well as many cases of diarrhea, parasites and breathing difficulties. We began to wonder about possible reasons.

There were several answers. An area that was once covered with forests is being cleared for logging and extensive soybean plantations. Every rain erodes the soil and brings traces of agrotoxins to the streams, which generate an oily coating on the surface of the water that must be removed in order to drink it, affecting the skin of those who touch it or bring it to their mouths.

It was then planned to drill a community well with the help of some organizations and build the distribution network in solidarity. The task was not easy: the water on the surface was polluted, and deforestation meant that the groundwater gained depth, forcing deeper digging, with harder soil because of its aridity.

Finally, on August 15, water reached the tap of every home, bringing joy and prosperity. In the past six months, the above-mentioned diseases have decreased by 75 percent according to statistics from the health center. Hopefully, the trend will continue to reverse as bodies remove accumulated pollution.

The community has become aware that its conservation should not only be seen as a proactive movement for the future, but as a necessary part of life today. When you make water a priority, you make people’s lives a priority.

Quality water is a health right but also a duty of care and conservation: do not waste, reduce agrotoxics, reforest springs. is a task for today and tomorrow.

Collaboration Lic Fatima Pereira

Conscious of this right, the Sisters of Charity have engaged in the construction of wells in different parts of the world: health is a right for all.

Community of Cristo Rey, Natalio, Itapuá, Paraguay.

Well in Kinshasa, DRC.

Well in Odoumsuk, Laos.