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

Facts About Children, Women & The Safe Water Crisis

Women and children spend 125 million horurs each day collecting water. This is time spent not working, caring for family members or attending school.

Women and children spend 125 million hours each day collecting water.1,2,3

Women and girls living without a toilet spend 266 million hours each day finding a place to go.4

Women and children bear the primary responsibility for water collection.3

Women and girls often spend up to 6 hours each day collecting water.5

Reductions in time spent collecting water have been found to increase school attendance.6,7

Globally, 1/3 of all schools lack access to safe water and sanitation.1

Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease.1

160 million children suffer from stunting and chronic malnutrition linked to water and sanitation.1

Diarrhea is the 3rd leading cause of child death, a majority of which are water-related.1

Involving women can make water projects 6 to 7 times more effective.5

Resource Links

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


  1. World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP). (2015) Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2015 Update and MDG Assessment.
  2. World Health Organization. (2012). Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage.
  3. WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2010). Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-Water, 2010 Update and MDG Assessment.
  4. Domestos WaterAid WSSCC. (2015). Why we can't wait. A report on sanitation and hygiene for women and girls.
  5. UN Water. (2013). UN-Water factsheet on water and gender, World Water Day 2013.
  6. Nauges, Celine and Jon Strand. (2011). Water Hauling and Girls' School Attendance: Some New Evidence from Ghana.
  7. Koolwal, Gayatri and Dominique van de Walle (2010). Access to Water, Women's Work and Child Outcomes.