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March 20, 2019

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) Special Report #1 – Discussing the world’s quest for access to clean water that is safe to drink.

Dying of Thirst: The Global Clean Water Crisis (#1 by Gospel for Asia) - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
Photo credit Giacomo Pirozzi, UNICEF

The statistics are mind-numbing.

  • 502,000 people die each year from diarrhea—caused by unsafe drinking water.[1]
  • 2.1 billion people have no access to safely managed drinking water.[2]
  • 159 million people get their drinking water directly from surface water sources.[3]
  • 263 million must travel more than 30 minutes daily to collect their water.[4]

Safe drinking water is something most of us take for granted. But for millions of people, the only water they have is contaminated. And millions more are at risk of having no water at all. According to the United Nations, 1.9 billion people (27 percent of the world’s population) live in “potentially severely water-scarce” areas.[5]

They wake up each morning knowing they must fight to survive.

For those of us who enjoy ready access to clean water, these numbers are difficult to grasp. But for the individuals they represent, life is simple: They wake up each morning knowing they must fight to survive. The day might begin with a long journey to a watering hole. Everything else depends on that crucial task. For others, the day begins and ends in wretched poverty—because chronic illness prevents them from working. And for some, a normal day means watching their children die slowly from waterborne disease.

This is the heartbreaking reality for people around the globe. The widespread lack of clean water is a crisis we can’t ignore. But to address it, we must understand it.

Why Clean Water Is So Crucial - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

Why Clean Water Is So Crucial

Water comprises about 60 percent of every human body. It’s essential to the functioning of our cells. And when we don’t take in enough water, things go wrong very fast. We can survive for weeks without food, but without water, we last only a few days.

When acute dehydration sets in, we feel thirsty; then we can begin to experience headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps and rapid heartbeat. If we don’t receive water in time, we may drift into a quiet sleep—and then death. The effects of chronic dehydration can be less dramatic but just as insidious. Over time, the skin may become dry and flaky. Constant fatigue and muscle weakness make it impossible to function normally.

A lack of clean water affects every imaginable area of life

Another cruel fact of life for millions is that the water they do have is contaminated with microbes or deadly trace elements. They can choose to go thirsty—or drink water that makes them sick.

To stay healthy, we need to drink about a half-gallon of water each day. But of course, we need water for more than drinking. We use it to wash our clothes and our bodies. We need it to care for our livestock and to irrigate our crops. So a lack of clean water affects every imaginable area of life. Overall, we need between 13 to 26 gallons to perform all our daily tasks.

Access to safe water is also a key to economic well-being. Farmers need a steady supply of water for their livelihood. If there are no reservoirs to draw from, they must rely on the rain. So when drought hits, the effects can be catastrophic—for the farmers and their entire communities.

People crippled with waterborne disease often spend most of their money and time dealing with it. Work, education and other activities that might help them prosper must be put on hold. Considering all these factors, it’s no wonder that the places with least access to safe water are also among the poorest.

Plentiful—Yet Scarce - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
Sulem Hire 9, carries the jerry can holding water to her home which is four kilometers away from the borehole. Photo by Mulugeta Ayene, UNICEF

Plentiful—Yet Scarce

There’s enough water on earth to fill 326 million cubic miles (or 1.36 billion cubic kilometers).[6] In fact, 71 percent of the earth’s surface is covered with water.[7] So why is water still so scarce for so many people?

To start with, 96.5 percent of the earth’s surface water is contained in the oceans.

To start with, 96.5 percent of the earth’s surface water is contained in the oceans.[8] And of course, its salt content makes it useless for drinking. Desalination can make saltwater drinkable, but the high cost of that process has put it out of reach for most of the world—so far.

Of the earth’s freshwater, 68.7 percent is locked away in ice caps, glaciers and permanent snow. Another 30.1 percent is in the ground.[9] That leaves only a tiny fraction available as usable surface water, which comprises 78 percent of the water we use. The source of that surface water is the oceans. When water evaporates from the ocean surface, it leaves its salt content behind, and some of it then reaches the earth as precipitation—mainly, rainfall. That water then flows through our rivers and streams and collects in lakes and ponds. We depend on that runoff for most of our water needs.

But geographic and atmospheric conditions can prevent the rain from reaching some places. About 40 percent of the earth’s land mass is considered arid or semi-arid. And together, those areas receive only about 2 percent of the earth’s water runoff.[10] As a result, people who live in those regions often face chronic water shortages and a constant struggle to find adequate water. They typically rely on wells that tap the water in the ground. But when those wells fail, disaster follows quickly.

Digging Deep to Find Clean Water

In some arid and semi-arid regions, people depend on wells that provide water during the rainy season but go dry when the rain stops. There may be more water available deep in the ground, but the wells are too shallow to reach it. Gospel for Asia (GFA) has recognized this problem and has helped solve it by helping to drill wells up to 600 feet deep. The people can then rely on those wells for water all year round.

Digging Deep to Find Clean Water - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
Local labor and materials are used to drill Jesus Wells, which keeps costs low.

Nirdhar and Karishma’s village sits on a rocky hillside in Asia where, for years, the only water source was the rainwater that collected in a pond. In the dry months, the pond was unreliable, so the villagers would buy water from a visiting tanker truck. GFA-supported pastor Dayal Prasad was aware of the problem and asked his leaders if it might be possible to drill a well for the villagers.

Through the generous donations of GFA supporters around the world, the well project began. But it was risky; the land was notoriously dry. Few local people believed a well was even feasible. The team drilled deeper and deeper into the hard rock terrain with no results. The effort seemed futile. And then, at last—they struck water.

But the team didn’t stop. They drilled even deeper so the villagers would be assured of water through the dry months. And now, they have clean water year-round for drinking, cooking and bathing.

“We never thought a well would be drilled in our village,” Nidhar confides. “But the true need of this village was met by Gospel for Asia. We are truly thankful for it.”

Twin Hazards: Drought and Flooding - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

Twin Hazards: Drought and Flooding

Even places accustomed to adequate rainfall can be vulnerable to drought, which may come without warning. Its impact usually depends on the preparations people have made beforehand. Most of the developed world has systems and infrastructure in place to mitigate a drought’s worst effects. In 2018, Washington state and areas of the American Southwest experienced a severe drought, which caused hardship but no large-scale human catastrophe. But it’s a different story when drought strikes poor areas that are already struggling. People die of dehydration. Crops fail and famine follows. Economies are devastated.

Drought is a terrible affliction, but the opposite problem can also occur, and sometimes in the very same places—too much water at once.

People die of dehydration. Crops fail and famine follows.
Economies are devastated.

Many communities in arid regions are physically unprepared for floods, which often come suddenly. And a lack of groundcover in the desert can make the flooding even more destructive. Floodwaters often mingle with raw sewage, which can cause skin rashes, tetanus, gastrointestinal illnesses and wound infections in people exposed to it. The standing water left behind by floods also breeds mosquitoes, which transmit vector-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria and West Nile fever. In some places, rodents proliferate after flooding. These creatures carry microbes such as leptospira bacteria, which are then released in the rodents’ urine. As a result, leptospirosis can reach epidemic levels after a flood. Left untreated, it can cause respiratory distress, liver failure and death.


Dying of Thirst: The Global Water Crisis – The Crucial Quest for Access to Clean Water: Part 2 | Part 3

This Special Report article originally appeared on gfa.org.

Read the Global Clean Water Crisis Report: Finding Solutions to Humanity’s Need for Pure, Safe Water.

Learn more about how to provide clean water to families and villages through Jesus Wells and BioSand Water Filters.

To read more on the Global Clean Water Crisis on Patheos, go here.

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

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Footnotes
  • [1]Drinking-water. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drinking-water. February 7, 2018. Accessed December 26, 2018.
  • [2]Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and SDG Baselines.Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. 2017. Accessed December 26, 2018.
  • [3]Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and SDG Baselines.Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. 2017. Accessed December 26, 2018.
  • [4]Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and SDG Baselines.Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. 2017. Accessed December 26, 2018.
  • [5]The United Nations world water development report 2018: nature-based solutions for water; facts and figures. UNESCO Digital Library, p. 2. 2018.
  • [6] Lutgens, Frederick K., Tarbuck, Edward J. The Atmosphere: An Introduction to Meteorology. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Prentice Hall. 2004, p. 94.
  • [7]How much water is there on, in, and above the earth? The USGS Water Science School. https://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html. Accessed December 26, 2018.
  • [8]How much water is there on, in, and above the earth? The USGS Water Science School. https://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html. Accessed December 26, 2018.
  • [9]How much water is there on, in, and above the earth? The USGS Water Science School. https://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html. Accessed December 26, 2018.
  • [10]Health in water resources development. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/docstore/water_sanitation_health/vector/water_resources.htm. Accessed December 26, 2018.
April 26, 2018

waterGospel for Asia (GFA), Wills Point, Texas, Special Report 4/4 on a Christ-like response to the global clean water crisis.

What Scripture Has to Say About Water

It is intriguing, in light of the fact that 71 percent of our Earth is covered by water, that Scripture has a great deal to say on the topic. One commentator suggests that water is mentioned 722 times in the Bible. This total is less than the mentions of God, Jesus, heaven or love, but more than faith, hope, prayer or worship. In Genesis it says: “A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters The name of the first is Pishon … The name of the second river is the Gihon … The name of the third river is the Tigris … And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”

For those of us with a Sunday School background, the stories dealing with water are memorable: Moses parting the Red Sea as the children of Israel fled the pursuing chariots of the Egyptians. Moses striking the rock at Horeb so that water flowed in the wilderness to satisfy the thirst of the people and of their flocks.

Refugees wait for water in a camp in Dadaab, Somalia - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
Refugees waiting to get water and satisfy their thirst in a camp in Dadaab, Somalia.

Wells are central stages for story-telling dramas: Abraham’s servant finds a bride for Isaac after praying near a well, “Oh, Lord God of my master, Abraham, give me success today and show kindness to my master.” Jesus declares His spiritual authority to a Samaritan woman by a well. “Will you give me a drink?” He asks, to begin a dialogue with her, and then eventually He declares, “But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14, NIV).

Rivers are forded, oases with pools satisfy weary nomads and their families, and always, over and over, water is used as an example of God’s blessing. “And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones. And you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:11, NASB).

Water is used as an example of the sacramental, where the holy mixes mysteriously with the physical. People flock to John the Baptist in the wilderness to be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins: “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11, NIV).

The heavens open after Jesus is baptized, the Spirit descends in the bodily form of a dove, and a voice is heard declaring, “You are My beloved Son; in you I am well-pleased” (Luke 3:22, NKJV).

Water is a symbol of cleansing, not only in a physical sense but in a spiritual sense. Jesus walks on the water. He teaches by the shores of the seas. Some of His disciples are fishermen who gained their livelihood from waters’ depths. In the last chapters of Revelation, which many theologians feel is a prophetic picture of Eden being restored again, these words bring the water theme to a close. Revelation 22, the last chapter of the Bible, the first verse: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

A Christ-like Response to the Global Clean Water Crisis

It is a comfort, to know the fragility of our water sources around the globe is taken into account. Because of community involvement and the compassion of pastors from Believers Eastern Church and other affiliate organizations, Dr. K.P. Yohannan spearheaded the “Jesus Well” project among some of the neediest regions in India, even small villages across Asia, spanning multiple Asian nations. In 2016 alone, Gospel for Asia was able to help provide 6,822 wells. That is 6,822 sources of clean, fresh drinking water. GFA supporters around the world have allowed the rate of installation of Jesus Wells to continue and to remain consistent, with tens of thousands of wells drilled and constructed in the past several years. Now, the Jesus Well project is one of the largest clean water initiatives in the world.

A Jesus Well is being dug in India - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
A Jesus Well is being drilled next to a church building. This is the first well dug in the village.

Here, there are no broken wells laying waste and abandoned because well-meaning but neglectful charities dug wells that villagers could not maintain or repair. Jesus Wells are maintained in good repair by GFA-supported local pastors. In fact, wherever possible, the wells are dug near local churches, not simply so that they will be maintained, but so that the beneficiaries will recognize that our love for them is genuine, because everyone is able to drink freely—no matter their income or social background.

Digging a Jesus Well supports the local economy, because local labor and materials are used to drill the wells. This keeps costs low, often even seven times lower than wells installed by other organizations.

Jesus Wells are drilled up to 650 feet deep to ensure a continuous supply of clean water. They can last for 20 years and provide clean water for an average of 300 people every day. Some wells serve even more at a cost of $1400 apiece, and provide practical solutions to our global clean water crisis.

Watch a time-lapse video of an Asian village using a Jesus Well »

BioSand water filters provide 98% pure drinking water - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
Though simple in construction, BioSand water filters are easy to use and provide water that is 98 percent pure.

In regions where water might be available, but it’s just not safe to drink, GFA-supported workers provide BioSand water filters. These simple structures—locally built from concrete, sand and rocks—filter the water to remove impurities, providing water for drinking and cooking that is 98 percent pure. In 2016, GFA provided 14,886 BioSand water filters for families and individuals.

Gospel for Asia published a story in 2016 that shared the paradox faced by four villages in one region of South Asia. These communities faced severe water shortage during the hot, summer months, but in the rainy monsoon season their water sources were contaminated by chemicals. Their situation was an echo back to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem: “Not a drop to drink.” Local congregations in the region were concerned about the people and their need for clean water, and in 2014, GFA helped drill four Jesus Wells to provide safe, pure water for these villages. By God’s grace, there are now more than 5,000 people who benefit from these wells!

Christ-like Response to the Global Clean Water Crisis - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
A woman pumps water from a Jesus Well.

A Jesus Well Transformed Salil’s Family

Salil and his family in north east Asia - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
Salil (pictured) lives in a northeastern region of Asia with his wife and three children.

The staggering weight of the global clean water crisis is beyond the ability of most of us to wrap our minds around. Still, more than 150 million people in South Asia alone have either no immediate access to clean water or drink from polluted sources.

But the clean water problem can be devastating for a single family. We see this illustrated in the story of a gentleman named Salil, his wife and his children. Until a Jesus Well was installed in their village, all the water for the community came from a nearby contaminated pond. Salil’s family and the other villagers were sick with a plethora of illnesses and diseases. They suffered because of the very water they depended on for life.

The situation drove them even deeper into poverty as their illnesses kept them from work, and their meager income was not adequate to provide for the medicines they needed—let alone their other essential needs. Salil did everything he could think of to provide for his family, but nothing he did was adequate.

When a local pastor requested and received a Jesus Well for the community, everything changed. A thankful Salil said, “Our family is blessed both physically and spiritually. We are free from problems and sickness.”

How appropriate: “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:42, NIV). Those who receive are blessed, and those who give are blessed. The accompanying video will give you a feel for just what that means.

So, our Blue Planet spins in space, obedient to its determined orbit. Its surface is covered by 71 percent water. So far, there has been no confirmed verification of liquid water existing on any other planet in our solar system. As yet, not a single drop of water has been detected anywhere in interstellar space, and scientists have determined that only a planet of the right mass, the right chemical composition and the right location can support liquid water. Let us remember that it is good. It is very good.

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Give Towards Clean Water Projects

You can provide life-saving water to people in Asia suffering from the global clean water crisis through Jesus Wells and BioSand water filters, and help support ongoing maintenance of these clean water projects.

This material appeared in Gospel for Asia’s special report “The Global Clean Water Crisis: Finding Solutions to Humanity’s Need for Pure, Safe Water.”

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Read Special Report 1/4 – Introduction to the Global Clean Water Crisis

Read Special Report 2/4 – The Global Clean Water Crisis Exists in America, Too

Read Special Report 3/4 –

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April 24, 2018

Gospel for Asia (GFA), Wills Point, Texas, Special Report 2/4

The Global Clean Water Crisis Exists in America, Too

In her master work titled Dirty, Sacred Rivers: Confronting South Asia’s Water Crisis, Cheryl Colopy, a prize-winning environmental reporter specializing in water systems and clean water restoration, makes a wry observation about the Western form of household waste management:

“But the system I have known and used, quite unconsciously ever since I was potty trained, is nuts. In a world where the supply of clean drinking water is becoming an almost universal worry, why would anyone put clean water into a toilet? For South Asia, flushed toilets and the treatment systems they require have become untenable long before they have become universal. For the Western world, the system as it is currently practiced will surely become untenable before too many more years have passed.”

Orange County, California

Any discussion of clean water inevitably introduces the twin dilemma on the matter of how the world handles human waste. Author Colopy’s point is even now an issue with the state of California, which has concluded that intermittent periods of drought may be the predicted future for its residents. Recycled and purified toilet water (and other grey water from washing machines, dishwashers, showers and sinks, gutters and sidewalks) is the basis for the Orange County Water District pioneering wastewater treatment facility that basically recycles sewage and returns it directly to the drinking supply. Soon, some 100 million gallons per day will meet the water needs of some 850,000 people. When mixed with the groundwater supply, this treatment reaches more than 70 percent of Orange County residents.

Admittedly, the concept of “from toilet to tap,” as the phrase goes, has met with determined resistance, but due to a three-year water shortage crisis and to determined public education, negative reaction seems to be lessening. A public campaign has carefully explained the three steps of the water reclamation project.

“The first is a micro-filtration of the treated waste water to remove solids, oils and bacteria, before the resulting liquid goes through reverse osmosis.” Phase Two means everything is pushed “through a fine plastic membrane that filters out viruses and pharmaceuticals.” Phase Three: “The water is then treated with UV light to remove any remaining organic compounds, before joining the main groundwater supply, which must pass strict quality controls to meet legal standards and distribution to households.” Mike Marcus, the general manager of the Orange County Water District (OCWD) explains that once wastewater goes through this three-step process, “we basically have distilled water.”

Water Reclamation Process

Phase 1

Micro-filtration removes solids, oils and bacteria, all before the water goes through reverse osmosis.

Phase 2

Everything is pushed through a fine plastic membrane that filters our viruses and pharmaceuticals.

Phase 3

The water is treated with UV light to remove any other organic compounds.

The OCWD assures the end-user that the re-treated water exceeds all state and federal drinking standards. As the technology is adapted to other places in the world, water-insecure Singapore, for instance, in addition to new state-side additions launched in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, the president of the World Water Council, Benedito Braga, reports, “The quality [of effluent water from a sewage treatment plant] is very good, as good or better than the tap water in any city in the developed world.” Thomas Quinn, the head of the Association of California Water Agencies insists this process is a central strategy to drought-proofing modern urban economies.

For those who shudder at the possibility of drinking recycled toilet water, sometimes it is all a matter of what’s in a name. An interview over National Public Radio acknowledged the “yuck” factor many in the public might naturally feel at the thought of recycling water from the toilet to the tap, and that resistance might be helped by a newer nomenclature such as the “the potable reuse project.” The Orange County Water District is being far more upfront in their public campaign by using the hashtag #GetOverIt. NPR Reporter, Nathan Rott, insists that recycled water is and will remain California’s single largest source of new water supplies as the state moves forward into the 21st century.

“The quality [of effluent water from a sewage treatment plant] is very good, as good or better than the tap water in any city in the developed world.”

Then before we turn to the water dilemmas of the two-thirds world and point a finger and tsk-tsk over spoiled rivers and sewage-polluted streams, perhaps we should look hard at the infrastructure inadequacies of our own nation. The news cycles in the States and the headline-oriented emphasis of major networks and cable outreaches leaves little time for in-depth reporting. We have heard, for many years, much discussion regarding the national need for infrastructure renovation—Roads are in disrepair, bridges are crumbling, airports all need upgrading. Rarely—rarely—do we hear that our water infrastructure systems are also in red flag conditions.

Flint, Michigan

The sad result of what is essentially a violation of public trust can be encapsulated by the Flint, Michigan, water saga that happened in April 2014. The drinking source for this city was diverted from the treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River. This change was influenced by the fact that an estimated $5,000,000 in savings was projected over the next two years. In August and September of 2014, city officials detected levels of coliform bacteria, and a bulletin was issued for Flint citizens to boil their water. In October 2014, General Motors complained about the corrosivity of the water, explaining that car parts were actually corroding. The request was made that GM be able to switch back to the Detroit water source. (It turns out, that corrosive capability of the Flint River water would be determined to also corrode upon lead pipes, leaching lead levels into the water supply of individual homes. An early investigation by one “whistle-blowing” worker determined that, despite standard practice, officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors to the Flint River water.) In January 2015, in a public meeting, citizens complained about bad water—murky tap water; there was a bad smell and taste as well as the questionable appearance. These complaints appeared to have gone on over an 18-month period before a local physician, taking it upon himself, found highly elevated blood lead levels in the children of Flint.

The Global Clean Water Crisis Exists in America - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

Eventually, with city officials dodging complaints, issuing false reports to state regulators indicating that “tests at Flint’s water treatment plant had detected no lead and testing in homes had registered lead at acceptable levels,” and with Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality eventually being pegged as the major player in denying the problem and refusing to take action, major players, too numerous to mention, finally stepped in. Scientists and physicians and medical schools and environmental organizations, both private and governmental, determined that the proportion of infants and children with elevated levels of lead in their blood had nearly doubled since the switch to the Flint River.

In September 2015, Dr. Marc Edwards, notified by a Flint resident whose alarms had been ignored by city officials, began testing Flint water with a team from Virginia Tech to perform lead level testing. Working with a grant from the National Science Foundation, he and his student team reported that at least a quarter of Flint households had levels of lead above the federal allotted level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) and that in some homes, lead levels were at 13,200 ppb. Edwards summarized the Flint Water Crisis by stating: “It was the injustice of it all and that the very agencies that are paid to protect these residents from lead in water, knew or should have known after June at the very latest of this year, that federal law was not being followed in Flint, and that these children and residents were not being protected. And the extent to which they went to cover this up exposes a new level of arrogance and uncaring that I have never encountered.”

national guard delivers water in Flint Michigan - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
The National Guard delivers bottled water to residents of Flint, MI.

This all, of course, has resulted in countless hearings, investigations, and continued studies on the local, statewide and national levels. Emergency centers for distributing water and home filters, then replacement cartridges, have been established. Testing water and lead levels in the blood of children continue. The water supply was diverted back to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Numerous Class action suits have been filed against Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and 13 other state officials, including former Flint mayor Dayne Walling. The complaints allege that the officials acted recklessly and negligently, leading to serious injuries from lead poisoning.

Needless to say, major funding has been found and pledged for comprehensive water infrastructure improvement, all to be carried out over the next few years. But what is immeasurable is the damage done to the brains of small children, most of which cannot now be determined but which bodes ill for the future of these kids. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters along with Representative Dan Kildee called upon the state of Michigan to “make a sustained financial commitment by establishing a Future Fund to meet the cognitive, behavioral and health challenges of children affected by lead poisoning.” All fear that those challenges will be real and life-lasting.

This material originally appeared in Gospel for Asia’s special report “The Global Clean Water Crisis: Finding Solutions to Humanity’s Need for Pure, Safe Water.”

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April 23, 2018

Asian girls carrying water for miles in a global clean water crisis - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
Asian girls carry clean drinking water for miles because of the global clean water crisis.
The blue marble photo of Earth
The “Blue Marble” photo of Earth, taken on the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. (Public domain)

Gospel for Asia (GFA), Wills Point, Texas, Special Report 1/4 on the global clean water crisis.

The “Blue Marble” photo of Earth shot from Apollo 17, the last of NASA’s Apollo missions as the rocket ship was hurtling toward the moon, wasn’t the first satellite image of our planet, but it was the first full image—stunning in color—taken from some 18,000 miles in space, with the sun fully illuminating Earth. The south polar ice cap, despite heavy cloud cover, was clearly captured, and the photo showed almost the entire coastline of Africa, extending from Antarctica to the Mediterranean Sea. Most of us who saw it at that time were stunned with how much water covered our planet.

This one single dramatic image eventually gave the name “Blue Planet” to our Earth, due obviously to the abundant water sources we could see on its surface. The photo was taken on December 17, 1972 and for all of us at that time, caught up in the exploits of the space discovery, it forever altered the comprehension of our planet. Now, when I think of Earth, and when hundreds of millions of others think of Earth, this is the iconic image that comes to mind.

This is an article about the global clean water crisis, about clean water, about water from a tap or from a glass, hopefully free of pathogens that bring disease. This is an article about clay pots and large plantain leaves and cupped dried gourds that hold rainfall hopefully untainted by acid effluvium. This is an article about pole wells drilled beneath polluted soil, and the unintended arsenic poisoning of villagers. This is an article about drying water reservoirs, about waste and sewage and chemicals polluting streams and rivers and major waterways. It is about encroaching urban development laying acres of implacable concrete and miles of roadways over land where rains can now no longer replenish water tables. It is an article about taking responsibility for that Blue Planet spinning alone, and as far as science now knows, unparalleled in our universe. No liquid water has been confirmed as existing on any other planet in our solar system. As yet, not a single drop of water has been detected anywhere in interstellar space. Scientists have determined that only a planet of the right mass, the right chemical composition and the right location can support liquid water; in other words, a planet like ours, the Blue Planet, this Earth.

663 million people have no access to safe drinking water - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
663 million people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water as of 2015. This is the first time the number has fallen below 700 million.

That information alone should evoke awe when we look again at the ubiquitous reproductions of the Apollo 17 photo (identified by NASA as AS17-148-22727.) This image is perhaps best described in the spare language of Genesis 1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the waters … And God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so.” The Creation account then proceeds with the regular, rhythmical and dynamic pronouncement of the Creator, “And it is good. And it is very good.”

Just imagine: God looking at the actuality of what that splendid photo AS17-148-22727 replicates. Who can refuse to admit to experiencing a similar and deep soul sigh, it is good. It is very good . . .? According to United States Geological Survey (USGS), “The Earth is a watery place. But just how much water exists on, in, and above our planet? About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water. Water also exists in the air as water vapor, in rivers and lakes, in icecaps and glaciers, in the ground as soil moisture and in aquifers, and even in you and your dog.”

I’m not sure about water content in the animal species, but data informs me that adult males are about 60 percent water and adult females are about 55 percent water.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” captures the analysis of contemporary oceanographers, “Water, water everywhere.” And unfortunately, due to the stresses of climate change, rising seas, urban sprawl, lack of urban planning, spoiled springs and creeks and raging rivers overwhelming their banks and flooding, the rest of that poetic lament is becoming all too real, “And not a drop to drink.”

A Quarter of Earth’s Major Cities Face Water Stress

At the time of this writing, the world is watching the water distress in Cape Town, South Africa, where the taps are scheduled to run dry due to extended drought that has emptied the water reservoirs. In fact, experts tell us that this coastal paradise city is not alone in its water depletion extremity. Literally millions of people around the world live without sufficient access to water; over 1 billion people lack water supplies, and another 2.7 billion find it scarce for at least one month of the year. A 2014 survey of the world’s 500 largest cities estimates that one in four are in “water stress.” In fact, right now, there are 11 major cities on the Blue Planet that are most likely to run out of drinking water—exactly like Cape Town. Those cities are:

  1. São Paulo, Brazil’s financial capital.
  2. Bangalore, India, where rapid growth as a technological hub outstrips advancements to the city’s plumbing, resulting in half its drinking water lost to waste.
  3. Beijing, China; the country is home to some 20 percent of the world’s population but whose continent has only 7 percent of the world’s fresh water.
  4. Cairo, Egypt, where the major water source, the River Nile, is the increasing destination of untreated agricultural pollutants and residential waste.
  5. Jakarta, Indonesia, where rising sea levels with saline water have resulted in 40 percent of Jakarta to be below sea level.
  6. Moscow, Russia, where 70 percent of the water supply is dependent upon surface water, but pollution, a leftover from the USSR industrial legacy, has contributed to the fact that 35 percent to 60 percent of total drinking water reserves do not meet sanitary standards.
  7. Istanbul, Turkey, which is now technically in water stress. Experts have warned that, if not checked, the situation could worsen to water scarcity by 2030. The city’s reservoir levels declined to less than 30 percent of capacity in 2014.
  8. Mexico City, Mexico, where 1 in 5 residents have tap water only a few hours a week, and another 20 percent have running water just part of the day.
  9. London, England, where the city draws 80 percent of its water from the Thames and the Lea rivers, has a waste rate of 25 percent, and consequently is predicted to have serious shortages by 2040.
  10. Tokyo, Japan, which is now initiating plans to collect rainwater due to its high precipitation—some 750 private and public buildings in the city have water collection and utilization systems.
  11. Miami, Florida, is suffering from an earlier project to drain its swamps, causing the unforeseen problem of the Atlantic Ocean rising as water warms and now contaminating the Biscayne Aquifer—the city’s main source of fresh water—and causing closure of nearby outlying wells due to saline infusion.

Studying this list makes one point crystal clear: Even if I (or you) may not be personally affected by water emergencies in the areas where we individually live, modern urbanized cities across the entire Blue Planet are now under water duress. They serve as the early warning systems that demand global attention! Attention! Attention! In addition, problems that were ignored 20 years ago are in need of urgent correction now, as are other situations that now need corrections in order to prevent water disasters in the near future.

The World Health Organization has made clean water a priority. According to the WHO Drinking Water Fact Sheet, “In 2010, The UN General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation. Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) releases a yearly grade for infrastructure for the United States as well as a grade for each state. They gave the United States a grade of D+ for the year 2017. According to their report, this assessment for roads, bridges, airports, water systems, etc. is determined by measures like capacity, funding, operation and maintenance, and public safety.

These are the analytics that need to be explained in any discussions of America’s infrastructure hazards, and they are the modes for diagnosing our failing and crumbling public systems, upon which we are all dependent. Consequently, because of its looming water emergency, the thriving city of Cape Town has become the poster city for what, if the necessary correctives are not applied, will be water-scarcity crises duplicated in other large cities worldwide. Even now, that crisis is a reality for millions living in a world where the alarming estimate is that by 2025 half the world’s populations will be living in water-stressed areas.

“We are now limited to using 13 gallons of water per person per day. That’s enough for a 90-second shower, a half-gallon of drinking water, a sink full to hand-wash dishes or laundry, one cooked meal, two hand washings, two teeth brushings and one toilet flush.”

TIME Magazine’s reportage as to the causes of Cape Town’s severe water depletion point to several realities, which are also relevant to other urban centers. Climatologists at the University of Cape Town recognize that man-made climate change is a contributing factor in continuing drought patterns and warn that a drier future with increasingly unpredictable rain supplies is likely. It is generally agreed that the current water crisis is a result of what writers Mikhael Subotzky and Johnny Miller report is “a combination of poor planning, three years of drought and spectacularly bad crisis management. The city’s outdated infrastructure has long struggled to keep up with the burgeoning population. As dam levels began to decline amid the first two years of drought, the default response by city leadership was a series of vague exhortations to be ‘water aware.’”

Cape Town, South Africa faces a global clean water crisis - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
Cape Town, South Africa (population 433,688), where the taps are scheduled to run dry due to extended drought that has emptied the water reservoirs.

In February 2018, Cape Town’s mayor’s office announced more stringent water restrictions: “We are now limited to using 13 gallons of water per person per day. That’s enough for a 90-second shower, a half-gallon of drinking water, a sink full to hand-wash dishes or laundry, one cooked meal, two hand washings, two teeth brushing and one toilet flush.” The warning in the TIME article is this: “What is happening to us in Cape Town might not be an outlier. It could happen to you too.”

This material originally appeared in Gospel for Asia’s special report “The Global Clean Water Crisis: Finding Solutions to Humanity’s Need for Pure, Safe Water.”

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July 30, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, which inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to assist the poor and deprived worldwide – Published a new report for World Water Day saying two-thirds of planet may face crisis shortages by 2025, 30 million in U.S. lack safe water.

The world is on the brink of a devastating water crisis that could be “much more worrying” than the COVID-19 pandemic, says a disturbing report.

Gospel for Asia report for World Water Day, March 22, says 2/3 of planet may face crisis shortages by 2025, 30 million in US lack safe water
‘BIGGEST CRISIS NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT:’ A new report [http://www.gfa.org/press/WaterCrisis] — released by GFA World (Gospel for Asia) for World Water Day, March 22 — says two-thirds of the planet may face water shortages by 2025, 30 million people in the U.S. lack safe drinking water, and several megacities are on the verge of “running out of drinking water.”
Citing global forecasts, the report — published by GFA World (Gospel for Asia) — suggests the toxic mix of poverty, hunger and lack of safe drinking water around the world could be “potentially much more worrying than the virus spreading.”

“Two-thirds of the world’s people could face water shortages by 2025,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia (GFA World) that has clean water projects across Asia. “It’s been described as ‘the biggest crisis no one is talking about.'”

Several megacities are on the verge of “running out of drinking water,” says the report, titled Water Stress: The Unspoken Global Crisis, as World Water Day — an annual awareness event — spotlights the rising global threat.

According to BBC News, cities such as Mexico City, Mexico; Beijing, China; São Paulo, Brazil; Cairo, Egypt; Cape Town, South Africa; and even London, England, already have massive stress on their water supplies and could run out of drinking water in a few years.

Global agencies UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) place Mexico and nine African and Asian countries in the “top 10” nations with the “worst drinking water.” In the African country of Uganda, 40 percent of the population has to trek 30 minutes or more to find safe drinking water, says the report.

Two Billion Drink From ‘Feces-Contaminated’ Sources

Around the world, some 785 million people — more than double the U.S. population — don’t have basic water service, the report says. A staggering two billion people — mostly in Africa and Asia — get their drinking water from feces-contaminated ponds and watering holes, leading to often-fatal diseases such as diarrhea, cholera and dysentery.

Organizations like Gospel for Asia (GFA World) and World Vision have made clean water a top priority. Gospel for Asia (GFA World) drills about 4,000 new community wells — called “Jesus Wells” — every year, providing safe drinking water for entire villages. Over the past two decades, we have drilled more than 30,000 wells and distributed more than 58,000 home kits, called BioSand filters, that remove 98 percent of water impurities.

“Our goal is to bring people life-giving clean water,” Yohannan says, “and also to show people that we care about their most vital needs, such as water, because God loves them and values them.”

U.S.: 30 Million ‘Without Safe Water’

Americans are not exempt from the worldwide water crisis, with more than two million people in the U.S. without access to running water, and 30 million Americans lacking “safe” drinking water, according to the report.

School officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania announced last year they had found legionella — the bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease — in their local water supplies. Some Texas residents were scooping water out of swimming pools after their taps ran dry following the state’s “Big Freeze” this past winter.


Those interested in supporting GFA World’s COVID 19 relief efforts in Asia, should go to: http://www.gfa.org/press/covid-19.

Media interested in interviews with Gospel For Asia should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com


About Gospel for Asia

GFA World (Gospel for Asia) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


KP Yohannan has issued two statements about the COVID-19 situation found here and here.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Read more on the World Water Crisis and the COVID 19 Crisis on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

May 21, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX — A global humanitarian organization is helping combat the world’s “stinkiest” health emergency — people defecating in the open — a new report reveals. Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is installing thousands of toilets in some of the world’s remotest and least developed areas — places where people typically relieve themselves in the bushes, by the local river, or in the street. It’s part of a global effort to curb deadly diseases spread by people practicing open defecation, known as OD, says the agency’s new report Taking the Toilet Challenge.

GFA World is helping combat the world's stinkiest health emergency -- open defecation --- released a new report: Taking the Toilet Challenge
SOLVING A DEADLY STINKY PROBLEM: Texas-based humanitarian organization Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is helping combat the world’s “stinkiest” health emergency — people defecating in the open. The agency just released a new report, Taking the Toilet Challenge.

OD spreads cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid and leads to chronic diarrhea — killing millions of children worldwide every year.

OD is not just a health crisis in the developing world — it’s also a serious issue in the United States, where cities such as San Francisco and Seattle are battling to find solutions among their growing homeless populations.

Up and Running: 32,000 Toilets

So far, GFA World has helped install more than 32,000 toilets in OD-prone locations across Asia.

““For millions around the world, the humble toilet is the best gift they can imagine,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder of the Texas-based organization that helps millions across Asia and has just launched projects in Africa. “Giving people the most basic necessities of life is one way of sharing God’s love with them.”

Global Progress

Citing progress, the organization’s report says OD has been cut in half globally in recent years. In South Asia — home to one quarter of the world’s people — the number of those practicing OD has dropped sharply from two-thirds of the population to one-third.

But, the report says, about one in every 11 people worldwide still doesn’t have access to a toilet.

The report also spotlights efforts to “reinvent the toilet” — designing toilets that process human waste without water, sewer or septic systems.


About GFA World

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.

Media interested in interviews with Gospel For Asia should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com


April 9, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, which inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to assist the poor and deprived worldwide, issued this 2nd part of a Special Report update on the unspoken global crisis — Water Stress; where nations worldwide, are struggling for safe drinking water.

Mother with children at an area going through severe drought
These women in Asia typically have to walk for hours in search of water sources that are often just filthy ponds or dirty lakes, and typically contaminated with waterborne illnesses. As they are without options, they do this knowing the water could bring sickness or death to their families.

Other Global Water Stress Crisis Solutions

Cleaning up water is only part of the solution to the global water crisis. The main part will be finding additional water sources, which is where advancements in desalination (also known as desalinization) offer encouragement. According to one report, desalination capacity is expected to double between 2016 and 2030.

Columbia University
One Columbia University team achieved a zero-liquid discharge without boiling the water off—a major advance in modern desalination technology. Photo by Chenyu Guan

Last June, Columbia University announced engineering researchers have been refining desalination through a process known as temperature swing solvent extraction (TSSE). The school says TSSE is radically different from conventional methods because it does not use membranes to refine water. In a paper for Environmental Science & Technology, the team reported their method enabled them to attain energy-efficient, zero-liquid discharge (ZLD) of these brines.

“Zero-liquid discharge is the last frontier of desalination,” said Ngai Yin Yip, an assistant professor of earth and environmental engineering who led the study. While evaporating and condensing the water is the current practice for ZLD, it’s very energy intensive and prohibitively costly. The Columbia University team was able to achieve ZLD without boiling the water off—a major advance in desalination technology.

Among other advances is work by a research group at Spain’s University of Alicante, which has developed a stand-alone system for desalination that is powered by solar energy. A second solar-powered system developed by researchers in China and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was announced in February 2020.

Without clean water, youngsters worldwide are susceptible to many waterborne diseases, which prevent them from attending school and can thereby keep them trapped in a persistent cycle of poverty.

There is also commercial potential, as shown by 11 plants operating in California, with 10 more proposed. One in suburban San Diego turns 100 million gallons of seawater into 50 million gallons of fresh water daily, which it pipes to various municipalities. While it costs twice as much as other sources, the water resources manager for the San Diego County Water Authority says it’s worth it.

“Drought is a recurring condition here in California,” said Jeremy Crutchfield, Water Resources Manager at the San Diego County Water Authority. “We just came out of a five-year drought in 2017. The plant has reduced our reliance on imported supplies, which is challenging at times here in California. So it’s a component for reliability.”

Mother and child drinking clean drinking water from Jesus Wells
This mother and child are both enjoying a refreshing splash of the clean drinking water provided through a Jesus Well. Before these wells were built, women and children from the village walked miles back and forth to fetch water, which was most often contaminated. Now their villages enjoy the relief and love that these Jesus Well brings. The fresh, clean water is available to the villagers year-round, right in the middle of town, saving them time, and concerns about waterborne diseases.

Micro Solutions to the Global Water Stress Crisis

BioSand Water Filter
3.4 million people die every year from waterborne diseases caused by contaminated, dirty water. A simple BioSand water filter can change that, providing water that is 98% pure after filtration.

For every macro problem there are also micro solutions. In addition to the United Nations, there are numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charities fighting for clean water, like water.org, the nonprofit founded by actor Matt Damon and Gary White. Faith-based World Vision is one of the largest NGOs and provides clean water in addition to its child sponsorship and disaster relief work.

Another active NGO is Gospel for Asia (GFA World), which initiated water well drilling projects in 2000 after the Lord put a burden on a donor’s heart about the need for clean water. He contacted the ministry to ask if it would allow wells to be built near churches led by Gospel for Asia (GFA) pastors—and sponsored the first 10, known as Jesus Wells. Drilled 300 feet (91 meters) or deeper into the earth, these wells often provide clean water for 300 or more people per day.

Over two decades, the results have been phenomenal. GFA has drilled a cumulative total of more than 30,000 wells and today is completing around 4,000 each year throughout Asia. In addition to helping entire villages, Gospel for Asia (GFA) provides solutions for individuals and families through BioSand water filters, designed for home use. Capable of removing 98 percent of biological impurities, the filters can last for up to 20 years with proper care. By the fall of 2020, the ministry had distributed more than 58,000 filters.

Woman filtering water through BioSand Water Filter
BioSand water filters are bringing joy to families in South Asia! Many people in this area have to drink dirty water out of stagnant ponds, for lack of access to clean water sources, so after receiving a water filter like this one, their family can now drink clean, tasty water instead.

The blessings such help provides can be seen through a number of individual stories. In one of the first villages where a Jesus Well was installed, residents used to drink from a pond also used for bathing, irrigation and cooking. Summer droughts often eva

porated the dirty pond water; a well near the village went from providing clean water to a brownish substance in a matter of months and was later abandoned.

Now, the clean well has become part of the community’s fabric. Says a GFA pastor whose church is next to the well: “I feel very happy to know that this is one of the first Jesus Wells. It’s not easy to have a well maintained for this many years; because anybody can install a well, but maintaining it for almost [20] years, where it still gives clean and good drinking water, it is not easy. That makes me very proud and happy.”

Founder of Gospel for Asia (GFA), K.P. Yohannan, says the faith-based NGO is helping thousands of needy families, especially children. Without clean water, he says youngsters are susceptible to many diseases, which prevent them from attending school and can thereby keep them trapped in a cycle of poverty.

Dr. K.P. Yohannan, GFA Founder
Dr. K.P. Yohannan,
GFA World Founder

“We attack the water crisis globally by installation of wells in a village or BioSand filters in homes,” Yohannan says. “We did a study in our medical camps and found the No. 1 issue for children in South Asia was either diarrhea or upper respiratory infections. Our ultimate goal to give kids an education so they can get a better job is compromised if they’re sick.”

Waterborne diseases causing stress, sickness, and even death can be addressed and resolved with proper solutions, like BioSand water filters and fresh-water wells.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) BioSand Water Filter

BioSand Water Filters

If you’d like to make a personal impact on the world water crisis, consider giving a needy family a simple BioSand water filter. For only $30, GFA World can manufacture and distribute one of these effective filters to a water-compromised family in Asia or Africa and provide them with clean, safe water for years to come.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) Jesus Wells

Jesus Wells

Or, consider giving toward the $1,400 average cost to install a Jesus Well for an entire community. Jesus Wells can serve 300 or more people with safe, clean drinking water for 10-20 years.

Either solution is a simple and effective way to take part in helping reduce water stress in this world and provide micro solutions to the global water crisis for people in need of clean, safe drinking water.


Give towards Clean Water Projects »

If this special report has touched your heart and you would like to help families and communities who are suffering through the water crisis, please share this article with your friends and consider making a generous gift to GFA World to help give clean water to a village through BioSand Water Filters and Jesus Wells.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) Special Report: Water Stress: The Unspoken Global Crisis  Part 1


About Gospel for Asia

GFA World (Gospel for Asia) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read more blogs on Gospel for Asia, World Water Stress Crisis, and the COVID 19 Pandemic on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Learn more by reading these Special Reports from Gospel for Asia:

KP Yohannan has issued two statements about the COVID-19 situation found here and here.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Leprosy & COVID 19 | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

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This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

March 31, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, which inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to assist the poor and deprived worldwide, issued this 1st part of a Special Report update on the unspoken global crisis — Water Stress; where nations worldwide, both rich and poor, are struggling to find safe drinking water for their populations.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World, founded by KP Yohannan) Report Part 1 - Unspoken Global Crisis, Water Stress - nations struggle for safe drinking water

Water problems are often big news, whether it’s ongoing crises in American locales like Flint, Michigan or Newark, New Jersey; in 11 cities across the world forecasting as most likely to run out of drinking water; or the widespread concern that two-thirds of the world will face shortages by 2025.

Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute
Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute
Photo by World Resources Institute

And yet, “water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about,” says Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute. “Its consequences are in plain sight in the form of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability.”

One recent report from World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that 785 million people lack a basic drinking-water service. Globally, at least 2 billion people use a source contaminated with feces. Contaminated water can transmit diseases such as diarrhea, cholera and dysentery.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says an estimated 801,000 children younger than 5 perish from diarrhea annually, mostly in developing countries.

Not only is safe, readily available water important for public health, WHO says improved water supply, sanitation and better management of resources “can boost countries’ economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction.”

Still, nearly 50 years after the U.S. adopted the Clean Water Act (regulating surface water quality standards and discharge of pollutants into water) and close to 30 years after the United Nations started observing World Water Day (Mar. 22), getting clean water to everyone remains a monumental challenge.

That’s true even in developed nations. More than 2 million Americans lack access to running water and indoor plumbing; another 30 million live in areas lacking access to safe drinking water.

Last September, an investigation into a 6-year-old boy’s death led to detection of a brain-eating amoeba in the water supply of Lake Jackson, Texas, an hour south of Houston.

But it isn’t just the U.S. struggling to provide an adequate supply. Two years ago, BBC News chronicled 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water. Topping the list was Cape Town, South Africa, which the BBC said was “in the unenviable situation of being the first major city in the modern era to face the threat of running out of drinking water.”

Cape Town has thus far avoided that fate by instituting usage restrictions, but that city and 10 others continue to face a water shortage:

Interestingly, only Mexico is listed by WHO and UNICEF among 10 countries with the worst drinking water. The other nine include Congo, Pakistan, Bhutan, Ghana, Nepal, Cambodia, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Uganda. Tales of woe in the report include 40 percent of Ugandans having to travel more than 30 minutes for safe drinking water.

In two previous special reports for Gospel for Asia entitled “Dying of Thirst: The Global Water Crisis,” and “Solving the World Water Crisis … for Good,” we unpacked the global quest for access to safe, clean water, and how lasting solutions can defeat this age-old problem. This article highlights continuing water stress problems worldwide, and various solutions that are emerging to deal with a crisis issue that is too often underdiscussed.

Pandemic Problems to Make Global Water Crisis Worse

As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, the pandemic of 2020 exacerbated conditions. In a forecast just prior to last year’s World Water Day, the UN said, “A continuing shortfall in water infrastructure investments from national governments and the private sector has left billions exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Ensuing developments justified the warning. Soon after, grocery stores in central California took to rationing bottled water to deal with the pandemic’s effects that posed serious health risks for residents in rural farmworker communities, where tap water is often fouled by agricultural pollution.

Child drinking dirty water from puddle
Water stress presents formidable challenges to many people in Asia and Africa, like this young boy in Africa, needing to take a drink from this mirky pond. Photo by Frederick Dharshie, CIWEM, Environmental Photographer of the Year Gallery

In long-plagued Flint last summer, 55-year-old Cynthia Shepherd told The Detroit News that, coupled with the extended water crisis there, the pandemic was making it “tough.” “I’ve known a few people who have died, and it’s scary,” says Shepherd.

Soon after reopening for the 2020-21 school year, school officials in five Ohio towns announced they had found legionella—the bacteria that can cause a serious type of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease—in their water supplies. So did four districts in Pennsylvania. Ironically, precautions taken to prevent infection risks could have added to the problem.

“Stagnant water in unused drinking fountains or sink plumbing could be a good reservoir in which the bacteria could grow,” wrote New York Times reporter Max Horberry. “And shower heads like those found in locker rooms are common places for Legionella to proliferate.”

But it’s worse elsewhere. Countries in Africa and South Asia, where 85 percent of the world’s people live, face formidable challenges. One report said during the outbreak a lack of clean drinking water and hygiene practices became a major concern for cities in the developing world, especially in slums, urban fringes and refugee camps. Since COVID-19 has focused global attention on the need for frequent handwashing, drinking water and personal hygiene, The Conversation said political leaders will have to give attention to quality as well as access.

“It will be an even more daunting task, in both developed and developing countries, to regain the trust of their people that water they are receiving is safe to drink and for personal hygiene because of extensive past mismanagement in most areas of the world,” the publication observed.

Boy drinking dirty water from puddle
African child drinking polluted dirty water from a pond in his neighborhood.

Photo by Mzilikazi wa Afrika

In an article for GeoJournal, Professor Albert Boretti noted that technological improvements that helped deal with increased demand for water, food and energy since 1950 were not enough to avoid a water crisis. Not only have worldwide coronavirus cases (as of Aug. 4, 2020) surpassed 18.4 million and fatalities reached almost 700,000, containment measures aimed at limiting infections damaged the world economy, he said.

“This will limit social expenditures in general, and the expenditures for the water issue in particular,” Boretti said. “The water crisis will consequently become worse in the next months, with consequences still difficult to predict. This will be true especially for Africa, where the main problem has always been poverty. … More poverty will translate in a lack of food and water, potentially much more worrying than the virus spreading.”

Baseline Water Stress Map, 2019
Baseline water stress measures the ratio of total water withdrawals to available renewable surface and groundwater supplies. Higher values indicate more competition among users. Photo credit: World Resources Institute, Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas (CC BY 4.0) • Data Source: WRI Aqueduct 2019

Singapore Water Crisis Solutions

When it comes to cleaning up water, the Asian city-state of Singapore is a success story. For more than a century after the British settled there in 1819, the Singapore River was the focus of global and regional trade. That also brought pollution associated with commercial activity, such as industries, squatter colonies and food vendors dumping garbage, sewage and industrial waste into the river.

Singapore River
Ariel view of the clean Singapore river near Clark Quay in the central area of Singapore. Photo by Amos Lee

For more than a century, various commissions proposed alternatives for improving navigation and solving pollution, including a 1950s report suggesting improvements costing $30 million. For various reasons, it was never implemented, say the authors of an academic paper on the history of the clean-up.

However, in the 1960s, the prime minister set in motion a plan that included a call for water and drainage engineers in two departments to work together to resolve environmental problems. Polluters were told to move, families relocated to high-rise public housing, and a series of other steps were taken that cost $300 million.

“When the costs of the rivers cleaning programme are compared with the benefits, it is clear that it was an excellent investment,” said lead author Cecilia Tortajada. “The river cleaning programme had numerous direct and indirect benefits, since it unleashed many development- related activities which transformed the face of Singapore and enhanced its image as a model city in terms of urban planning and development. Most important, however, was that the population achieved better quality of life.”


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If this special report has touched your heart and you would like to help families and communities who are suffering through the water crisis, please share this article with your friends and consider making a generous gift to GFA World to help give clean water to a village through BioSand Water Filters and Jesus Wells.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) Special Report: Water Stress: The Unspoken Global Crisis  Part 2


About Gospel for Asia

GFA World (Gospel for Asia) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


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This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

December 11, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, has been the model for numerous charities like Gospel for Asia CanadaFaith-based agency has drilled more than 30,000 ‘Jesus Wells,’ distributed 58,000-plus water filters A leading mission agency revealed it has provided safe drinking water for a staggering 37.5 million people in Asia, the world’s “thirstiest” continent. The number of people helped by Texas-based Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is roughly equivalent to the entire population of California.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) reported millions of water-deprived families across Asia — home to six out of every 10 people on the planet — now have safe, reliable drinking water thanks to the organization’s deep wells and BioSand filters.

In the past two decades, Gospel for Asia (GFA World) and its partners around the world have provided more than 30,000 wells and 58,000 filters.

Gospel for Asia reports it has provided safe drinking water for a staggering 37.5 million people in Asia, the world's thirstiest continent.
QUENCHING THE THIRST OF A CONTINENT: Gospel for Asia (GFA World) revealed it has provided safe drinking water for a staggering 37.5 million people in Asia, the world’s “thirstiest” continent. The faith-based mission agency released a new report titled Don’t Drink The Water (Unless You Know What’s In It).

In 2019 alone, the faith-based organization — manned entirely by local workers, many traveling from village to village on foot — helped drill 4,856 new “Jesus Wells” and distribute 12,243 new water filters in communities, many of which were stricken by waterborne diseases.

“In the world’s thirstiest continent, Gospel for Asia (GFA World) workers and churches are committed to meeting people’s most vital physical need — safe drinking water,” said the organization’s founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan, as the mission agency released a new report titled Don’t Drink The Water (Unless You Know What’s In It).

The report comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) says one in every three people in the world doesn’t have access to safe drinking water, and the United Nations predicts that by the year 2050 up to 5.7 billion people worldwide could be affected by water shortages.

Finding safe drinking water is not just a problem in Asia. In the U.S., as many as 63 million people — nearly one in every five Americans — have been exposed to potentially unsafe drinking water, GFA World’s report says, citing lead and arsenic contamination.

Demand for Water to Skyrocket

In the next 20 years, global demand for water is expected to surge by more than 50 percent, according to the U.N.

“This desperate situation is especially acute in Asia, where millions of families get their drinking water from the only source available to them — often a dirty river or stagnant pond, which are breeding grounds for parasites and deadly bacteria,” Yohannan said.

Drinking contaminated water can lead to fatal diseases such as typhoid, hepatitis A, and diarrhea. Globally, diarrhea kills almost 2,200 children every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

By providing safe water, Gospel for Asia (GFA World) hopes people who’ve never heard about God’s love will see “love in action.”

In one community, the local pastor began praying for a new well when the old village water source dried up, forcing villagers to trek every day to the river. Days later, a team arrived to drill a new Jesus Well. Although skeptical at first, locals soon realized the new well was heaven-sent, the report says.

Going Deep, Finding Lasting Solutions

Beginning with the first well in the year 2000, Jesus Wells — up to 1,500 feet in depth — tap deep underground reserves and bring year-round, clean water to thousands of villages across Asia, each well supplying hundreds of people on average and providing a central community gathering place.

Because local people receive training to maintain the wells, the water keeps flowing. One team recently found a Jesus Well still going strong after 20 years.

Meanwhile, portable BioSand filters — another clean-water solution, costing around $30 each — remove most contaminants, making water 98 percent pure.


Media interested in interviews with Gospel For Asia should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com


About Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia (GFA) is a leading faith-based mission agency, bringing vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear the “good news” of Jesus Christ. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,000 clean water wells drilled, over 11,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 200,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read the Special Report on Solving the World Water Crisis … for Good — Lasting Solutions Can Defeat an Age-old Problem

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December 1, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, which inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia CanadaTwo billion people worldwide struggle to find water every day, says ‘sobering’ GFA report in wake of World Water Day. A sobering report released by Gospel for Asia (GFA) reveals that two billion people globally are struggling to find enough water to survive.Approximately 40 percent of the world’s land surface is desert or semi-arid, placing about two billion people — one in every four people on the planet — in peril, says the report titled Solving the World Water Crisis for Good: Lasting Solutions Can Defeat an Age-Old Problem.

Two billion people worldwide struggle to find water every day, says 'sobering' Gospel for Asia World Water Crisis report in wake of World Water Day

“In many places, there simply isn’t enough water, and the water that people do have is contaminated,” said Gospel for Asia (GFA) founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan, whose Texas-based mission has served the extreme poor in Asia for more than 40 years.

Millions of people rely on dirty ponds for drinking and washing, but the water often contains dangerous toxins or pathogens, says the report.

“People have to choose between drinking tainted water and going thirsty — it’s sobering,” Yohannan said.

Drinking contaminated water can lead to deadly waterborne diseases such as typhoid, hepatitis A, and diarrhea. Globally, diarrhea kills almost 2,200 children every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Despite the often devastating consequences, millions of people start each day with a long trek on foot to the nearest waterhole, possibly miles away,” Yohannan said. “Life for them becomes a dreary quest for survival.”

Going Deep, Finding Lasting Solutions to World Water Crisis

Gospel for Asia (GFA) teams have led the way in drilling deep wells — up to 1,500 feet in depth — to tap plentiful underground reserves and bring reliable, clean water to thousands of villages across Asia where families used to drink from filthy ponds.

These deep wells — known as Jesus Wellssupply year-round clean water to villages prone to drought and water shortages, with each well serving an average of 300 people.

Because local people receive training to maintain the wells, the water keeps flowing. One team recently found a Jesus Well still going strong after 20 years — transforming the lives of hundreds of villagers.

Another clean water solution — the portable BioSand filter, costing around $30 — removes most contaminants from dirty water, making it 98 percent pure, the report says.

In the past 12 years, Gospel for Asia (GFA) teams have distributed more than 73,000 of these household filters, changing the lives of impoverished villagers like Nirmala whose family often got sick drinking from a polluted pond.

“We had frequent stomach problems,” she said, describing life before getting a filter in her home. “Headaches, skin problems, pain… it was a very discouraging way to live.”

Even though improvements and advances in water-purification technology have been made, the report says much more needs to be done to solve the world’s water crisis. “The best solutions arise from cooperative efforts that involve (the local people),” it says.

“By God’s grace, Gospel for Asia (GFA) has been part of the solution for many years now,” said Yohannan. “People are experiencing the life of Christ because of the gift of clean water.”


About Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based mission agency, bringing vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear the “good news” of Jesus Christ. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,000 clean water wells drilled, over 11,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 200,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Source: Christian News Wire

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