Growing Global Water Need

Clean, safe water is something most of us take for granted, but nearly 800 million people do not have access to it and 2.5 billion have nowhere safe and clean to go to the toilet.

As a result, 2,000 children die every day from easily prevented diarrheal diseases.  Millions more are unable to attend school.  Millions of women are unable to work because they spend so much time caring for sick children, collecting water or searching for privacy to go to the toilet.

768 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly 11% of the world’s population according to WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP). They go on to say that 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, almost two fifths of the world’s population.

Around 700,000 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation – that’s almost 2,000 children a day. The lack of safe water and sanitation costs sub-Saharan Africa around 5% of its Gross Domestic Product each year. The integrated approach of providing water, sanitation and hygiene reduces the number of deaths caused by diarrheal diseases by an average of 65%. At any one time, half of the developing world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from diarrhea.

The weight of water that women in Africa and Asia carry on their heads is commonly 40 pounds, the same as an airport luggage allowance. Water and sanitation infrastructure helps people take the first essential step out of the cycle of poverty and disease. In the UK the expansion of sanitation infrastructure in the 1880s contributed to a 15 year increase in life expectancy in the following four decades.

Every year, the average person produces 35 kilos of feces and 500 liters of urine according to the UN. One gram of human feces can contain 10,000,000 viruses, 1,000,000 bacteria, 1000 parasite cysts, 100 parasite eggs.

In addition, every year, around 60 million children in the developing world are born into households without access to sanitation. Children living in households with no toilet are twice as likely to get diarrhea as those with a toilet. . In the developing world as a whole, around 90% of sewage is discharged untreated into rivers, polluting them and affecting plant and aquatic life.