Global Water Crisis Facts

The Big Picture

  • Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.i
  • A third of the world’s population is enduring some form of water scarcity.ii
  • Only 0.007 percent of the planet's water is available to fuel and feed its 6.8 billion people.iii
  • Half of the world's hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related illnesses.iv
  • In the past 10 years, diarrhea has killed more children than all the people lost to armed conflict since World War II.v
  • The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.vi
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day. vii
  • Most of the world’s population spends up to 3 hours a day to get the water they need to survive.viii
  • It is estimated that 5.3 billion people, two-thirds of the world’s population, will suffer from water shortages by 2025.ix
  • Water use has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century.x
  • 27 percent of people living in cities do not have water piped into their homes, meaning they are often finding water through illegal, unregulated, and polluted sources.xi
  • UN Declares 2005-2015 "Water for Life" as the International Decade for Action and set's the world agenda on a greater focus on water-related issues.xii

Health

  • 80 percent of diseases in the developing world are caused by contaminated water.xiii
  • If we did nothing other than provide access to clean water, without any other medical intervention, we could save 2 million lives a year.xiv
  • Without action to improve clean water and sanitation supplies, as many as 135 million preventable deaths will occur by 2020.xv
  • A person must consume 2 litres of water daily to live healthily.xvi

Children

  • A child dies every 15 seconds from a lack of clean water.xvii
  • Diarrhea remains in the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhea. It kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.xviii
  • A UNICEF study found that Jamaican students age 9-12 with a water-borne disease were in classes only half as much as their uninfected peers.xix
  • In villages where access to clean water is provided, the infant mortality rate can drop by 50%. xx

Women

  • In just one day, more than 200 million hours of women’s time is consumed for the most basic of human needs — collecting water for domestic use.xxi
  • When walking great distances to retrieve water, women are at greater risk of sexual assault and harassment.xxii
  • In some places, women have to walk nearly 10 kilometers to reach a water source.xxiii

Economics

  • The UN estimates it would cost an additional $30 billion to provide access to safe water to the entire planet. That’s a third of what the world spends in a year on bottled water.xxiv
  • If people had access to clean drinking water, 320 million productive days could be gained each year due to improved health.xxv
  • There could be a time saving of 20 billion working days per year from more convenient water supply and sanitation services.xxvi
  • If people had access to clean drinking water, there could be 272 million school-attendance days gained each year due to improved health.xxvii
  • Every $1 spent on water and sanitation generates a return of $9 in saved time, increased productivity and reduced health costs in Africa.xxviii
  • More than two-thirds of those without clean water survive on less than $2 a day.xxix

Resources

i Why Water:
http://www.charitywater.org/whywater/

ii The Global Water Crisis:
http://www.un.org/works/sub2.asp?lang=en&s=19

iii Freshwater Crisis:
http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/freshwater-crisis

iv The Facts About The Global Drinking Water Crisis:
http://blueplanetnetwork.org/water/facts

v The Facts About The Global Drinking Water Crisis:
http://blueplanetnetwork.org/water/facts

vi Water Facts:
http://water.org/learn-about-the-water-crisis/facts/

vii Water Facts:
http://water.org/learn-about-the-water-crisis/facts/

viii Water Facts & Trivia:
http://www.lenntech.com/water-trivia-facts.htm

ix The Facts About The Global Drinking Water Crisis:
http://blueplanetnetwork.org/water/facts

x Freshwater Crisis:
http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/freshwater-crisis

xi Echenser, Tasha. World Water Day Photos: Water Savvy Cities: 3/22/2011.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/pictures/110322-world-water-day-top-cities/

xii WHO Facts and figures: Water, sanitation and hygiene links to health:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/factsfigures04/en/

xiii The Facts About The Global Drinking Water Crisis:
http://blueplanetnetwork.org/water/facts

xiv The Facts About The Global Drinking Water Crisis:
http://blueplanetnetwork.org/water/facts

xv The World’s Water Crisis: Just the Facts Ma’am:
http://news.change.org/stories/the-worlds-water-crisis-just-the-facts-maam

xvi Water Facts & Trivia:
http://www.lenntech.com/water-trivia-facts.htm

xvii Why Water? Get the story. :
http://thewaterproject.org/why_water.asp?Ref=htgcw

xviii Water Facts:
http://water.org/learn-about-the-water-crisis/facts/

xix Children and Water: Global Statistics. UNICEF, 2011.
http://www.unicef.org/wash/index_31600.html

xx Why? Because Health in Africa Begins with Water:
http://thewaterproject.org/health.asp

xxi Water Facts:
http://water.org/learn-about-the-water-crisis/facts/

xxii Why Water?
http://www.charitywater.org/whywater/

xxiii The Global Water Crisis:
http://www.un.org/works/sub2.asp?lang=en&s=19

xxiv The Facts About The Global Drinking Water Crisis:
http://blueplanetnetwork.org/water/facts

xxv Soap, Toilets and Taps. A foundation for Healthy Children: How UNICEF Supports water, sanitation and hygiene. © United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). February 2009.

xxvi Soap, Toilets and Taps. A foundation for Healthy Children: How UNICEF Supports water, sanitation and hygiene. © United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). February 2009.

xxvii Soap, Toilets and Taps. A foundation for Healthy Children: How UNICEF Supports water, sanitation and hygiene. © United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). February 2009.

xxviii The Facts About The Global Drinking Water Crisis:
http://blueplanetnetwork.org/water/facts

xxix The Global Water Crisis:
http://www.un.org/works/sub2.asp?lang=en&s=19