Rain, rain go away.
This has been the battle cry from Knoxvillians who have been cooped up in their homes this summer, especially during a Fourth of July holiday that boasted road closings, fallen trees and backyard rivers that developed in the area.
Instead of embarking on adventures to theme parks, baseball fields and farmer's markets, residents have resorted to eating out, shopping and venturing to the movie theatre, a far cry from "fun in the sun."
But just how rainy has it been?
As of July 8, Knoxville has recorded 45.72 inches of rainfall this year, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown. Now let me give that number perspective. Last year, the Knoxville area recorded 45.86 inches of rainfall for the entire year. Remember, we still have almost five full months of precipitation to go.
Knoxville is already 19.29 inches of rainfall above the yearly average and could continue smash that the status quo. Through eight days, we've recorded 4.92 inches of rainfall, already 3.74 inches above the normal totals for the month... with 23 days to go.
Seattle may be under the mantra of the soggiest city in America, but surprisingly enough, Knoxville is dominating their rain totals, and it's not even comical.
In fact, the Knoxville area ranks near the top of the nation in rainfall this year, falling just shy of the usual suspect—the Florida panhandle.
But this isn't just a column about rainfall.
I chose this topic because oftentimes, we get greedy. Because we have to spend our summer days indoors and we have to make alterations to our preconceived plans, we get upset. We complain, and that's not right.
More than 1.1 billion people globally suffer from a lack of clean drinking water. Put simply, one in eight people in the world lacks access to clean drinking water – and that's an issue that doesn't need to be overlooked.
The World Health Organization estimates that humans can live from three to five days without water. Because of that, those living without access to clean water must resort to drinking unsafe water to sustain themselves on a day-to-day basis.
Unsafe water, in turn, can often lead to life-threatening diseases such as malaria, cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever.
There's been a barrier that's been established in impoverished global regions and the lack of clean drinking water has financially and physically parched the livelihoods of billions. Whether the barrier is drug lords or pollution or lack of infrasture, the problem remains equally as strong.
While we beg for the rains to come to a close so we can walk our dog in the dry, others are begging for just a light shower so they don't have to drink dirty, infected water that may, in fact, be quite dirty and infected (much thanks to chemical pollution).
Thankfully though, there are folks that are working to eradicate this problem. Folks with BloodWater Missions, for instance, work to end the HIV/AIDS issues Africa faces but also work to provide and build wells so communities can receive replenishment of clean drinking water.
Water scarcity is a very real issue and after all the perceived negativity, there is good news – this problem is solvable. And you can be a part of it.
Check out BloodWater missions or The Water Project, which seeks to provide clean drinking water for Africa while striving to end to the impeccable poverty the continent has faced.
Just as the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, the venture towards clean water begins with the first drop.
Gage Arnold is a rising senior in journalism and electronic media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.