We live in an age where concepts like “thirst” and “water” can be surprisingly far removed from one another. The global beverage market in 2020 was worth over $1670 billion USD, and is steadily growing. The typical consumer has a vast variety of choice between various types of tea, coffee, juice, and of course, soda. It can be alarmingly easy, especially for western consumers, to neglect their water intake needs, leading to long term as well as short term health problems. This isn’t something done consciously: the instinctual sensation of thirst can be satiated artificially, without actually satiating the underlying need for water intake. This goes double for those without reasonable access to clean water. In low income areas and certain urban districts, access to clean water is actually more expensive and restricted than access to soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. So even though citizens in these areas or income brackets may be drinking regularly, they can and will still suffer from the effects of chronic dehydration.
Chronic dehydration can lead to long term health problems in the kidneys, heart, digestive system, and brain. Mental health can be affected by the exhaustion, fatigue, and headaches associated with dehydration, in addition to cramps and skincare difficulties. It is also not necessarily the case that these symptoms will be recognized as related to hydration, especially in areas where public education on health concerns is lacking. There is, of course, a certain overlap between these areas and areas which have a lack of proper access to drinking water.
For this reason, among so many others, waste water treatment and water reclamation efforts must be recognized and advanced. Treatment and supply of drinking water is one of the cornerstones of modern day society, and no amount of soda can ever leave that behind. Access to water must be cheap, consistent, and protected in order to form the foundation of public health.