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Clean Water Facts

The truth about clean water

  • Nearly a billion people on the planet don't have access to safe, clean drinking water. That's one in every six people.
  • Our planet is 70% water. 97.5% of that is saltwater. Only 2.5% of the Earth's water is fresh water.
  • Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all sickness and disease, and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
  • At any one time it is estimated that half of the world's hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from water-borne diseases.
    Unsafe water and lack of sanitation is now the single largest cause of illness worldwide.
  • Children are especially vulnerable to the consequences of unsafe water. Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation, 90% are children under 5 years old.
  • A child dies every 15 seconds from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
  • The number of children that die every day from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene is the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing every day.
  • 40 billion hours are lost annually to hauling water, a chore primarily undertaken by women and girls.
  • One flush of a western toilet uses as much water as the average person in the developing world uses for a whole day's washing, cleaning, cooking and drinking.
  • The United Nations General Assembly, in December 2003, proclaimed the years 2005 to 2015 as the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life'.
  • These commitments include the Millennium Development Goals to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015.
  • The United Nations has determined a recognizable trend linking health and population: as infant mortality rates drop, women have less children, and a cycle of education and prosperity replaces disease and poverty.