The Global Water Crisis Impacts Children

– 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water and a simple toilet.
– 5 million people, mostly children under the age of 5, die from water-related illnesses each year.

Surviving diarrhea is the greatest single challenge for our world’s children. Diarrhea is the leading cause of death of children in countries with high child mortality rates. Over 90% of diarrheal death is caused by unsafe water, poor sanitation and insufficient hygiene. Children weakened by frequent diarrheal illnesses are malnourished and vulnerable to other infections, like pneumonia, leaving them physically and mentally underdeveloped.


Lack of Access to Clean Water Oppresses Women & Girls

– Every day, 200 million women and girls carry every drop of water their families use.
– 100 million children, mostly girls, receive no education because they are carrying water.

Women and girls are traditionally responsible for water collection, walking miles to the nearest sources. In addition to chronic back pain and skin sores, the burden of hauling heavy containers of water (a 5-gallon container of water weighs 40 pounds) leaves women with little or no time to manage their households or participate in income-generating work. Young girls help their mothers collect water, so are unable to attend school, perpetuating a cycle of illiteracy and poverty.


Dirty Water Traps People in a Cycle of Poverty 

– The world’s poor spend $30 billion a year treating water and sanitation-related illnesses.
– Women spend up to 5 hours a day fetching water, preventing them from participating in income-generating activities.

Poor people spend a high percentage of their household income on the treatment of frequent illnesses caused by lack of clean water and toilets. Millions of women and girls around the world devote hours each day simply to the task of carrying home dirty water. As a result, they are often unable to engage in paid work or agriculture, are caring for the ill in their households, or are lacking the strength to work themselves because of injury or illness.

In urban squatter settlements, the lack of clean water directly impacts a household’s income. In these areas, the poor are forced to buy water of unknown quality at very expensive rates from illegal connections and are subjected to exploitation by the slum power structure.