Every minute a child dies of a water-related disease
Women and children spend 140 million hours a day collecting water
1 in 9 people lack access to safe water
More people have a mobile phone than a toilet
For every $1 spent on water and sanitation there is a $4 economic return

Every minute a child dies from a water-related disease.1,3

Surveys from 45 developing countries show that women and children bear the primary responsibility for water collection in the majority of households. This is time not spent working at an income-generating job, caring for family members, or attending school.2

Diarrhea is the 4th leading cause of child death, a majority of which are water-related.4,5

Diarrhea kills children at a rate equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing every ten hours.1

An estimated 622,000 children under the age of five die each year from diarrheal diseases globally.1

Reductions in time to collect water has been found to increase school attendance. A study in Ghana found that a 15 minute reduction in water collection time increases the proportion of girls attending school by 8% to 12%. Another study found a one hour reduction in water collection time increases school attendance by approximately 8% in Yemen, 18% in Pakistan, and 11% in Morocco.6,7

Resource Links

Look for more facts in our collection of Water Resource Links.


  1. World Health Organization (WHO). (2012). Global Health Observatory. Global Health Observatory Data Repository. Mortality and global health estimates: Child Mortality: Causes of Child Death: Number of Deaths by Cause: By Region: WORLD: Diarrhoeal diseases, World Health Organization (WHO).
  2. WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2012). Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-Water, 2012 Update.
  3. World Health Organization (WHO). (2008). Safer Water, Better Health: Costs, benefits, and sustainability of interventions to protect and promote health
  4. UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation. (2013). Levels & Trends in Child Mortality, Report 2013. New York: United Nations Children's Fund.
  5. Tropical Medicine and International Health. 19, no. 8 (2014): 894 - 905. Burden of disease from inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene in low- and middle-income settings: a retrospective analysis of data from 145 countries.
  6. Nauges, Celine and Jon Strand. (2011). Water Hauling and Girls' School Attendance: Some New Evidence from Ghana.
  7. The World Bank Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network Gender and Development Unit. (2010). Access to Water, Women's Work and Child Outcomes.

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