The Problem

The water and sanitation crisis is a vast and complicated problem, impacting billions of people every day.  For those with access to water, a large percentage are sickened by the water they drink.  Others become sick because of poor sanitation and hygiene.  However, people's health is not the only concern. When children are sick they can't go to school, missing out on important lessons, and putting them behind.  When adults are sick they can't go to work, leading to the loss of wages.  That is, if they're going to school or working in the first place, because collecting water from miles away every day takes a lot of time. Others simply don't have a reliable source of water at all.  All of these factors contribute to the continuous cycle of poverty

There have been some big steps in the past few years towards universal coverage, but there is still a very long way to go. Below you'll find a selection of facts regarding the crisis, but to learn more please click on the links at the bottom of the page.




plenty of water,

but none to drink

  • it is estimated that more than 340,000 children under five die annually from diarrhoeal diseases due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water – that is almost 1,000 per day 1 
  • 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water source that is contaminated with feces2
  • up to 90% of wastewater in developing countries flows untreated into rivers, lakes and highly productive coastal zones3
  • 6 billion people have gained access to an improved drinking-water source since 19901, but there’s still a lot of work to do
  • improved water sources reduce diarrhea morbidity by 21%4
  • in Latin America and the Caribbean, almost 32 million people do not have access to an improved water source1
  • in most cases, women and children are responsible for gathering water, which often contributes to them not entering the workforce or going to school


poor sanitation

impacts everyone

  • 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation 1
  • it has been found that a lack of sanitation facilities contributes to girls staying home from school
  • almost a billion people go to the bathroom out in the open1
  • globally, 1/3 of all schools lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation1
  • improved sanitation reduces diarrhea morbidity by 37.5%4
  • in Latin America and the Caribbean, over 107 million people still do not have access to improved sanitation1

never underestimate 

the importance of

good hygiene

  • the simple act of washing hands at critical times can reduce the number of diarrhea cases by as much as 35%4
  • water, sanitation and hygiene has the potential to prevent at least 9.1% of the global disease burden and 6.3% of all deaths5
  • simple technologies like the tippy tap can save many lives around the world
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