World Water Day: 10 facts you didn’t know about water

Take a moment to imagine your day-to-day life without water.

How would you shower, brush your teeth, clean your dishes, hydrate your body, or even use the bathroom?

Water is an essential part of life, yet many of us take it for granted. We simply turn on a tap and it’s there. But for many people in developing countries, water is often found many kilometres away, and even then, it’s not always safe to drink.

Let us take a moment to consider how a lack of access to clean water not only jeopardizes community health, but also continues to negatively impact the lives of girls and women.

Here are 10 facts we bet you didn’t know about water:

844 million people around the world don’t have access to safe drinkable water.
The average Canadian uses up to 329 litres of water per day, 10x more than the average person in a rural sub-Saharan Africa.
A 1-minute shower with a conventional showerhead uses more water (at least 19L) than most people in sub-Saharan Africa use in an entire day for basic drinking and hygiene purposes (average: 10-20L).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 19L of water is sufficient for very basic drinking, cooking, and hand washing needs in a developing country, but other common tasks that require larger volumes of water such as bathing or laundry are difficult to achieve with such a small amount.
In Africa and Asia, women and girls walk an average of 6km a day carrying water that weighs more than 18 kgs – that’s equivalent to carrying two cases of soda, or a 40” flat screen television.

Each day people – mostly women and girls – spend 125 million hours collecting water. With safe access to clean water, those hours could instead be spent generating income, going to school or simply having fun.
842,0000 people die from diarrhea each year (361,000 are children under 5); access to clean water reduces this risk significantly.
When schools have water and sanitation facilities, attendance rates increase, especially for girls. Unfortunately, globally 1 in 3 schools lack access to sanitation and drinkable water.
160 million children suffer from stunting and malnutrition, which has lifelong impacts on their health, education, and economic potential; 50% of malnutrition is linked to lack of clean water and sanitation.
2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water since 1990.

Ensuring clean water for everyone

In 2017, Plan International supported 6.4 million children and families in over 53,000 communities to access their rights to clean water and sanitation.

4 children smile as they pour water from a Plan International tap

How do we do it?

Plan International works with communities to develop sustainable solutions to local problems, including waste management and gender-friendly school latrines.

We also build water points in communities and schools, and establish community-based organizations to ensure the ongoing management and maintenance of water points, to ensure sustainability.

Help provide access to clean water to keep children and families healthy.

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