Every minute a child dies of a water-related disease
Women and children spend 200 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


million without water access in:
(click a region)

  • Africa

More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world.3

Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours.1

Of the 60 million people added to the world's towns and cities every year, most move to informal settlements (i.e. slums) with no sanitation facilities.6

780 million people lack access to an improved water source; approximately one in nine people.2

"[The water and sanitation] crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns." 7

An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day.7

Over 2.5X more people lack water than live in the United States.2

More people have a mobile phone than a toilet.2,4,5

Resource Links

Look for more facts in our collection of Water Resource Links.
  1. Estimated with data from Diarhhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done. UNICEF, WHO 2009
  2. Estimated with data from 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; Updated Table 1: WSH deaths by region, 2004.
  4. International Telecommunication Union (ITU). (2011). The World in 2011 ICT Facts and Figures
  5. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). (2011). State of World Population 2011, People and possibilities in a world of 7 billion
  6. UN Water. (2008). Tackling a global crisis: International Year of Sanitation 2008
  7. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (2006). Human Development Report 2006, Beyond Scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis
  8. Map data sourced from "Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-Water, 2010 Update." WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation.

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