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

On average, every $1 invested in water and sanitation provides a $4 economic return.1


Expanding drinking water and sanitation coverage to achieve universal access would cost an estimated $540 billion. Including the costs of also maintaining the existing water and sanitation infrastructure increases this estimated cost to a total of approximately $2 trillion.1


Only 6% of international aid went towards investments in water and sanitation in 2011.2,3


Gaining universal access to adequate water and sanitation would result in an estimated $18.5 billion in economic benefits per year from deaths avoided.1


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates lack of universal water access results in $24 billion in lost economic value each year due to time spent gathering water.1


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates $260 billion is lost globally each year due to lack of adequate water supply and sanitation.1


Universal access to water and sanitation would result in an estimated $32 billion in economic benefits per year globally from reductions in health care costs and increased productivity from reduced illness.1


Sub-Saharan Africa loses an estimated 4.3% of its GDP each year due to lack of adequate water supply and sanitation.1


Access to credit plays a significant role in triggering household sanitation investments. If provided access to credit, poor households were found to be able to allocate a significant portion of their income to sanitation investments.4


A review of rural water system sustainability in eight countries in Africa, South Asia, and Central America found an average water project failure rate of 20 - 40 percent.5


Resource Links

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

References

  1. World Health Organization. (2012). Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage.
  2. OECD. (2013). Financing Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries: The Contribution of External Aid.
  3. OECD. (2013). Total DAC flows at a glance. Accessed July 9, 2014.
  4. Water and Sanitation Program (WSP). (2010). Financing On-Site Sanitation for the Poor, A Six County Comparative Review and Analysis.
  5. Lockwood, Harold and Stef Smits. (2011). Supporting Rural Water Supply. Moving towards a Service Delivery Approach.

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