1 in 10 people lack access to safe water
1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet
Women and children spend 125 million hours each day collecting water
Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease
Every $1 invested in water and sanitation provides a $4 economic return

Millions lack safe water

World map


million without water access in:
(click a region)

  • Africa

The world doesn't stand a chance without water

It spreads disease. Compromises safety. Makes education elusive and economic opportunity farther out of reach. The lack of access to safe water is deadly, dangerous, and a major obstacle to the people of developing nations becoming economically empowered. It is what is standing between billions of people and their health, safety, and the opportunity to unlock their true potential.

Explore the facts to learn more

A common struggle

In most developed nations, we take access to safe water and sanitation for granted. But this wasn’t always the case. A little more than 100 years ago, New York, London and Paris were centers of infectious disease. Child death rates were as high then as they are now in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. It was sweeping reforms in water and sanitation that enabled progress. In fact, in a 2007 poll by the British Medical Journal, clean water and sanitation access was designated the most important medical advancement since 1840.

The good news

We know how to bring people safe water and improved sanitation. We’re not waiting for a magic cure. And the solutions are simple and cost-effective. On average, every one US dollar invested in water and sanitation provides an economic return of four US dollars. For only $25, Water.org can bring someone access to safe water.


  1. Map data sourced from WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2015).Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2015 Update.

Water.org provides innovative, market-based solutions that change lives every day through safe water and sanitation.

Get the Water.org Newsletter