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Monitoring the World's Water Crisis

Across the globe, the search for clean water becomes more dire by the day.

MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations marked its 25th World Water Day on Thursday, but the road to global clean water has just begun. The UN initiative, which takes place every year on March 22, is meant to highlight the importance of potable drinking water across the globe and advocates for sustainable solutions to the growing crisis. Through their efforts, millions now have access to clean water, but one in nine people still struggle to fulfill this basic human need.

In honor of World Water Day, take a look at six countries where this growing crisis is coming to a head.

Indonesia YUSUF WAHIL/AFP/Getty Images Indonesia In Indonesia, water sources are so scarce that local villagers are forced to take daily swims upstream with hundreds of water cans tied to their back in order to get clean water for their community. According to water.org, 27 million Indonesians lack safe drinking water. (Pictured: Villager Mama Hasria looks over her 200 empty jerry cans before making her daily trip upstream.) India HIMANSHU SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images India UNESCO estimates that India's water crisis could seriously intensify by 2050. More than half of the country's rivers are polluted and recent droughts have depleted 40 percent of their renewable surface water. In addition, testing of groundwater shows high levels of contamination, leaving many citizens with few options for clean water. (Pictured: A woman collects water from a tap in a village on the outskirts of Ajmer, India.) Pakistan ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images Pakistan In Pakistan, the disparity between rich and poor becomes clear in terms of people's access to clean water sources. According to WaterAid, 21,640,407 people in Pakistan are living without any access to clean drinking water, and 88.5 percent of the country doesn't have access to clean drinking water close to home. (Pictured: Locals collect water outside a water filtration point in Karachi, Pakistan.) Somalia MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images Somalia Access to safe water is a growing concern across all parts of Somalia, where only 45 percent of the population has access to improved water sources. Outbreaks of waterborne diseases and cholera are endemic to the area, claiming hundreds of lives every year. (Pictured: A young girl collects water from a well at the Tawakal IDP camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia.) Bangladesh NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Bangladesh With one of the highest population densities in the world, Bangladesh's water crisis, like many around the world, comes with an array of problems. Of the 160 million people who live in the country, four million lack safe drinking water. In addition to potable water limitations, the groundwater, which is used by almost 90 percent of the population, contains traces of arsenic. According to the World Health Organization, arsenic has been shown to be the cause of death for one out of every five people in Bangladesh. (Pictured: A man washes vegetable in the polluted Buriganga river in Dhaka, Bangladesh.) Kenya SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images Kenya Forty-one percent of people living in Kenya still get their water from unsafe water sources like ponds, shallow wells, and rivers. With only nine out of 55 public water service providers offering continuous supply throughout Kenya, people living in rural areas and urban slums have been left to find their own ways of acquiring this basic human necessity. (Pictured: A commercial water truck is seen in Nairobi, Kenya.)
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