The Global Need for Clean Water

Lack of clean water is responsible for more deaths in the world than war. About 1 out of every 6 people living today do not have adequate access to water, and more than double that number lack basic sanitation, for which water is needed.

Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren't strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. 90% of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are in children under five years old. The WHO reports that over 3.6% of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.

In some countries, half the population does not have access to safe water for drinking and basic sanitation, and as a consequence they suffer from poor health.

By some estimates, each day nearly 5,000 children worldwide die from diarrhea-related diseases, a toll that would drop dramatically if sufficient water for sanitation was available.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 6 people worldwide (894 million) don't have access to improved water sources.
  • Globally, diarrhea is the leading cause of illness and death.
  • 88% of diarrheal deaths are due to lack of access to sanitation facilities, water for hygiene and unsafe drinking water.
  • 2.5 billion people live without basic sanitation. This includes almost 1 billion children.
  • Every 20 seconds, a child dies as the result of poor sanitation. This represents 1.5 million preventable deaths every year.
  • In Sub-Sahran Africa, treating diarrhea consumes 12% of the health budget. On a typical day, over 50% of the hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from fecal-related disease.
  • Washing hands with soap can reduce the risk of diarrheal diseases by up to 47%
  • Women in developing countries are forced to spend much of their day fetching water.