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

Millions lack safe water

World map


million without water access in:
(click a region)

  • Africa

The water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation), and the #8 global risk based on likelihood (likelihood of occurring within 10 years) as announced by the World Economic Forum, January 2015.4

750 million people around the world lack access to safe water; approximately one in nine people.2

More than twice the population of the United States lives without access to safe water.2,3

Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day.1

82% of those who lack access to improved water live in rural areas, while just 18% live in urban areas.2

Resource Links

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


  1. 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.
  2. World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP). (2014). Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2014 Update.
  3. United States Census Bureau Estimates. (2014). U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base.
  4. World Economic Forum (2015).Global Risks 2015 Report.
  5. Map data sourced from WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2014). Pg. 14. Based on 2012 Data. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2014 Update.

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