How Cisco is aiding the world’s water crisis

World Water Day, March 22nd, highlights the need for sustainable, clean water for everyone around the world, and Cisco recognizes the need for universal access to safe and affordable drinking water. The United Nations places water access and sanitation as the #6 goal on their list of “17 Goals to Transform our World”. Crises like water scarcity, poor water quality, and inadequate sanitation are some things that keep communities around the world from accessing clean water. This also affects food security, creates a food shortage, malnutrition, and impacts education opportunities for many. The U.N. states that by 2050, one in four people is likely to live in a country facing a fresh water shortage. Currently, 663 million people are still without access to improved drinking water sources.

See also: IoT and water conservation

There are some things Cisco is doing to help meet the U.N.’s goal of achieving universal access to safe and affordable drinking water by the year 2030. Cisco Critical Human Needs Portfolio Manager Erin Connor writes, “Access to clean and safe water is a human right, one we believe in and continue to support.”

Cisco invests in digital solutions, awarding 21 grants to nine different nonprofits since 2010. These solutions are just part of the way we can all help reach global water sanitation in the near future.

One of these digital solutions that Cisco has invested in is theCentre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), a charity and engineering firm whose goal is to address the need for water sanitation by providing technical training and consulting in water expertise. Part of CAWST’s strategy is to make water knowledge common amongst everyone. They believe that hygiene and sanitation in the home is possible through household water treatment. CAWST also helps in schools and clinics through workshops, technical support, and online services.

See also: Solving global problems with data and diversity

Another digital solution is the Akvo Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that uses data to improve infrastructure around the world, specifically in disadvantaged communities. The foundation’s “Caddisfly” product is a water quality testing kit available for Android smartphones. Users can choose from testing for colorimetry, sensors, microbiology, and more. These results can be mapped and monitored so that changes can be tracked over time. Including aiding with water, Akvo also helps improve agriculture, health, energy, education, and environment.

There is still so much work to be done in this space. Check out this piece on Connected Futures to see how the Internet of Things are helping pinpoint leaks in water infrastructure.


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