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

Desiree Buitenbos | 7 months ago | « back
Boy and girl washing hands and collecting water

Clean water can prevent illness, improve health, and help communities thrive

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.

Women and girl walking with water buckets on their heads

Walking long distances to fetch water is a responsibility that often falls on female shoulders

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

  1. 663 million people don’t have access to safe drinkable water – that’s 1 in every 9 people
  2. The average Canadian uses up to 329 litres of water per day, 10x more than the average person in a rural sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 66 children die from diarrhea every hour; access to clean water reduces this risk significantly.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water since 1990.

Ensuring clean water for everyone

In 2015, Plan International supported the construction and rehabilitation of 2,600 water systems, ensuring access to safe drinking water, and clean toilets.

A boy washes his hands using a tap provided by Plan International

A young boy finds joy in the simple act of washing his hands

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.

Sponsor the Health Project

Desiree Buitenbos | 7 months ago | « back