Did you know that when a community gains access to clean water, its child mortality rate drops by half?
For those who live in the United States and other urbanized areas, access to clean water and sanitation are viewed as a basic right, not a luxury. However, there are millions of communities around the world who do not have this basic right and suffer from preventable struggles, diseases, and deaths because of it.
Water and Poverty
- About one third of people without access to clean water survive on less than $1 a day. More than two thirds of people without access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day.
- People living in slums often pay 5-10 times more per liter of water than wealthy people living within that same city.
- An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the typical person living in a developing country slum uses in a whole day. (Water.org, The Global Water Crisis, Kansas City: Water.org, 2009)
Impacts on Children and Women
- Every 15 seconds a child dies because their water is not safe to drink. (Water.org, The Global Water Crisis, Kansas City: Water.org, 2009)
- Globally, an estimated 2,000 children under the age of five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases, and of these some 1,800 deaths are linked to water, sanitation, and hygiene. Almost 90 percent of child deaths from diarrhoeal diseases are directly linked to contaminated water, lack of sanitation, or inadequate hygiene. (UNICEF, Press Release, Children Dying Daily Because of Unsafe Water Supplies and Poor Sanitation and Hygiene, New York: UNICEF, 2013)
- 90% of all deaths caused by diarrheal diseases are children under 5 years of age.
- Children in poor environments often carry 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies at any time. (Water.org, The Global Water Crisis, Kansas City: Water.org, 2009)
- Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing every four hours. (Water.org, Water Facts: Water)
- Millions of women and children spend several hours each day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources. This is time not spent working at an income-generating job, caring for family members, or in school. (Water.org, Water Facts: Women)
- During a drought, young girls and women in Malawi can spend up to 8 hours a day fetching around 40 pounds of water. (Stafford Rotary, Stafford Rotary Highlighter, Stafford: 2012)
- 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related illnesses. (Water.org, Water Facts: Children)
- Of the 1.1 billion people without access to improved water sources worldwide, around 84% live in rural areas.
- Global population projections suggest that the world population of over 6 billion in 2000 will increase 20% to over 7 billion by 2015, and to 7.8 billion by 2025, a 30% rise. Enormous strains will be put on existing services, and substantial increases in the provision of water and sanitation will be needed to meet the needs of the swelling population. (WHO, World Water Day Report, Geneva: WHO)
Water and Sanitation Go Hand-In-Hand
- Lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection.
- Hand washing reduces the risk of disease by 50%. (The Global Public-Private, globalhandwashing.org, Health Impact)
- The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns. (United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Human Development Report 2006, Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty, and the Global Water Crisis, UNDP, 2006)
- At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease. (UNICEF/WHO, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: Special Focus on Sanitation, UNICEF/WHO, 2008)
The Need for Water
- Globally, 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. (IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis, In-Depth: Running Dry: The Humanitarian Impact of the Global Water Crisis, Nairobi: IRIN, 2006)
- 884 million people, or approximately 1 in 8 people, lack access to safe water supplies. (WHO/UNICEF, Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2010, WHO/UNICEF, 2010)
- Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use. (The Water Initiative, Usage of Water, TWI)
- The daily requirement for sanitation, bathing, and cooking needs, as well as for assuring survival, is about 13.2 gallons per person. (World Savvy, Water: Did You Know?, World Savvy, 2009)
- Without food a person can live for weeks, but without water one can expect to live only a few days.