Facts and Data

844 million people lack even a basic drinking-water service, including 159 million people who are dependent on surface water. (WHO/UNICEF)

Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. (WHO)

Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 502 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year. (WHO)

In low- and middle-income countries, 38% of health care facilities lack an improved water source, 19% do not have improved sanitation, and 35% lack water and soap for handwashing. (WHO)

Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 280 000 diarrhoeal deaths annually (WHO)

2.3 billion people still do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines. (WHO)

892 million still defecate in the open, for example in street gutters, behind bushes or into open bodies of water (WHO)

27% of the global population (1.9 billion people) used private sanitation facilities connected to sewers from which wastewater was treated. (WHO)

Access to Clean Water Improves...


When students don’t have to worry about gathering water, they return to class. With proper and safe latrines, girls stay in school through their teenage years.


With safe water, clean hands, healthy bodies, the time lost to sickness is reduced and people can get back to the work of lifting themselves out of poverty.


Access to water can break the cycle of poverty. Women and girls get their lives back. They start businesses and can contribute more to improving their homes.


Access to clean water gives communities more time to grow food, earn an income, and go to school -- all of which fight poverty.