Meet the Necessities

Food, clothing and shelter don’t really cover it anymore.  It being the necessities, those things we cannot live without.  For many people, survival has been boiled down to one thing.  Actually, it’s two things, but we take one for granted such that it is rarely mentioned.

Death and Taxes might be inevitable, but to stay in the game you’ve got to have a combo more akin to Breath and Cash.  Or, as better put in Ape Con Myth’s first blog post:

Meet The_Necessities_b

There’s the simplified version. Now let’s go the other direction with it…


That’s more like it. Okay, it’s 2010 AD. Civilization has had a few thousand years. How are we doing in fulfilling these needs?


… We’ve got some work to do.

[Yes, we do.  And now in 2012, with the Supreme Court considering the fate of one piece of this puzzle, Ape Con Myth’s live redesign is paving the way to take our study to the next level.  How do we stop wasting our time struggling and find out what happens when we really dedicate some time to living?]

Global Water Summary Info

It’s too bad UN-Water didn’t make it in our initial Google results for “water” (it’s the 64th result) because if you have a few minutes and a desire to understand the global water situation, the links to all the information you need are on one page.

In addition to their statistics page, UN-Water has three flagship publications:

What’s the story?  From skimming 500 pages of pdfs, it was largely what you’d expect.  Developing countries are making progress, but have a long way to go.  Increasing populations, advancing economies, climate change and lack of information, communication and funding are just a few of the factors involved.  Billions of people are still without the basics and while Africa and Asia house the areas furthest behind, there’s plenty of trouble spots in the most developed of countries and economies.

Although the challenges are great, it is important to remember that this is not a problem in search of a solution.  For the most part, it is a lame-duck problem waiting for the implementation of solutions already in hand.  That’s why the World Water Development Report focuses our attention on decision-making:

That’s the finish line for this week’s water sprint.  Next steps include digging into some country-level data, where we’ll really start to see what the hold-up is, and updating/expanding on our first water map.

International Water

Four links to international water organizations quickly turn into the pile below with a little looking.  If you include UN-Water’s members and partners and UNESCO-IHP’s Water Centres, we probably have before us what could be called most of the border pieces of the water puzzle.

Now the question becomes, is that too many organizations or not enough?  No, wait.  What’s the problem again?

“Water” Results – Round 2

Okay, here’s our top 50 “water’ results minus what we don’t need and organized by type of source:

Next step?  Skim, expand and reorganize…

Getting a Handle on the Water Situation

So far Ape Con Myth has put together a few pieces of the water puzzle.  Now it’s time to start dumping the rest of the box out on the table.  And what better way to do that then with a Google search.

Here’s the first 50 results for “water”:

  1. Water – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. Properties of water – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  3. Home – World Water Day
  4. USGS Water Science for Schools: All about water!
  5. USGS Water Resources of the United States
  7. HowStuffWorks “How Water Works”
  8. charity: water
  9. Index | Water | US EPA
  10. DS Waters of America, Inc.; Home & Office Bottled Water Delivery Plans
  11. Water (2005) – IMDb
  12. The Water Cycle
  13. water news and articles
  14. Brad Paisley – Water
  15. World Water Council
  16. (Water) on Twitter
  17. Water
  18. Water | Define Water at
  19. WATER: Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual – Home
  20. EPA Environmental Kids Club – Water
  21. Brad Paisley – Water
  22. Water: How much should you drink every day? –
  23. Water Environment Federation: The Water Quality People
  24. Fox Searchlight – Water – Official Site
  25. Home | World Bank – Water
  26. Water
  27. Water | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural…
  28. Water | Environment |
  29. Why Drinking Water Is the Way to Go
  30. Water: H2O = Life | American Museum of Natural History
  31. Water – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  32. ScienceDirect – Water Research, Volume 45, Issue 10, Pages 3015…
  33. FIJI Water
  34. Scientific American: Water
  35. The World’s Water
  36. Trailer for Deepa Mehta’s OSCAR-nominated film WATER
  37. FEMA: Water
  38. ScienceDaily: Water Conservation News
  39. >> Water Facts
  40. Water and Ice
  41. USA Water Polo United States Water Polo
  42. American Water Corporate
  43. Water footprint and virtual water
  44. NRDC: Water
  45. WHO| Water
  46. Good: Water
  47. Water
  48. WQA, water quality, NSF certified, certification, filtration
  49. Living Water International | Living Water International
  50. water – Wiktionary

While looking up “water” in Wikipedia wouldn’t be enough, searching for it on Google provides more than we need.  In this first round, 21 of the results have been crossed out for being unrelated or useless to our research.  Next comes a little organization…



Yeah, you’re right, if aliens visited us, this would be one of the countless embarrassments humanity would have to endure.  (Taking ACM’s assumption that the aliens’ first question will be, “What are you people doing?!”)

If 884 million people lack access to safe water and it costs $25 to provide one of these people water for life*, the total price tag for taking care of the problem is $22.1 billion.

Is that a lot of money or a little?  As with everything else, it depends.  Considering averaged $4M in program spending the last two years and that adding in 4 more top-rated water charities doesn’t get us up to $20M, $22.1B is a daunting sum.  On the other hand, in the United States we spend over $50B a year on footwear.

If 4.5% of the world’s population can spend that on shoes, then the 87% of people on the planet with clean water should have no trouble in getting that figure up to 100%.  The only question is how.  Ape Con Myth will continue to explore the subject.

For now though, here’s five 4-star-rated water charities according to Charity Navigator:, Water for People, Water Missions International, WaterAid America, and Lifewater International.  Please note, however, that Givewell evaluated all five and currently does not recommend any water charities, though* got their stand-out nod.

For more information on the global water situation, visit UN-Water.

Happy Sad World Water Day!.

[Related Posts at 00093 – Water]

Millennium Development Goals

“Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions.

The eight MDGs break down into 21 quantifiable targets that are measured by 60 indicators.”

[Check MDG progress and learn more at the United Nations Development Programme MDG home]

1 2