Water is a basic human right, yet more than 840 million people do not have a basic drinking water service. More than 260 million people, mostly young girls, have the daily task of collecting water from distant sources—time that could be spent in school or earning a livelihood. By cutting the time and distance to fetch water in half, girls’ school attendance increases by 12 percent. Poor sanitation and contaminated water can lead to diseases like cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid. But with access to clean water, families are able to send their girls to school, watch their crops flourish and improve their personal health.

Fast Facts

  • By 2050, at least 1 in 4 people will live where a lack of fresh water will be either chronic or recurrent.
  • A recent survey of 100,000 health care facilities in developing areas found that more than 50% lack running water and soap.
  • In countries dealing with conflict, children are 4 times less likely to have access to basic water services.
  • 40% of the world’s population is affected by water scarcity.

Water Helps Communities Develop

Water is necessary for lots of activities that are seen as the responsibility of women and girls in many regions: food preparation, care of animals, care of the sick, crop irrigation, cleaning, washing and waste disposal. Water is the key element in the numerous tasks women and girls do for their families and communities.

By making clean water available in schools, we can help girls attend class rather than spend hours each day carrying heavy buckets from sources that are miles away.

Supporting access to clean water is essential to sustainable community development.