Over 650 million people live without safe water.

2.4 billion people don't have access to adequate sanitation, one in three of the world's population.

Around 315,000 children under-five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That's almost 900 children per day.

Explore our statistics

The crisis

Almost a billion (946 million) people in the world defecate in the open.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015)
8 in 10 people without clean water live in rural areas.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015)
7 in 10 people without an adequate toilet and 9 in 10 people defecating in the open live in rural areas.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015)
Globally, 19% of the urban population and 49% of the rural population lack an adequate toilet.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015)
Nearly half of all people using dirty water live in sub-Saharan Africa, and one fifth live in Southern Asia.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015)
Globally, 31% of schools do not have clean water and 34% lack adequate toilets.
(UNICEF, Advancing WASH in Schools Monitoring, 2015)
42% of healthcare facilities in South East Asia do not have adequate toilets.
(WHO/UNICEF, 2015)
36% of healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa do not have soap for handwashing.
(WHO/UNICEF, 2015)
At current rates of progress, everyone in low and middle income countries won’t have adequate toilets until 2135 – 105 years behind schedule.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015 and WASHwatch)
At current rates of progress, everyone in low and middle income countries won’t have clean water until 2057 – 27 years behind schedule.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015 and WASHwatch)
At current rates of progress in reducing neonatal mortality (death in the first 28 days of life), the risk of dying within the first four weeks of life in Africa won’t match the current risk in higher income countries until 2166.
(WaterAid, Healthy start: the first month of life, 2016)
There were 2,682,000 neonatal deaths (deaths in first 28 days of life) globally in 2015 – 36 in every 1,000 live births. This is overwhelmingly a problem of the developing world – with over 99% of neonatal deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Tragically for the 1 in 5 babies who die in their first month in the developing world, just being washed in clean water and cared for in a clean environment by people who had washed their hands could have prevented their untimely deaths.
(United Nations Populations Division, 2015)
2.4 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, one in three of the world's population.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015 update)
650 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in ten of the world's population.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015)
Around 315,000 children under-five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That's almost 900 children per day, or one child every two minutes. (WASHWatch.org)
Every minute a newborn baby dies from infection caused by a lack of safe water and an unclean environment.
(WHO, 2015)
42% of healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to safe water.
(WHO/UNICEF, 2015)
Diarrhoea is the third biggest killer of children under five years old in Sub-Saharan Africa.
(Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) 2012)
Diarrhoea is the second biggest killer of children under five years old worldwide.
(Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) 2012)
Nearly half the people who gained access to water between 1990 and 2008 live in India and China.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation 2010)
One study estimates that funding for water and sanitation infrastructure is lacking by US$115 million a year in Sub-Saharan countries. (Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD) Study), while WHO gives a global estimate of $535 billion needed in new capital investment to reach universal access, or $26.75 billion per year between 2010 and 2030. (Hutton, WHO, 2012)
Across the countries where we work, people have to walk an average of 30 minutes to collect water and return home. In some cases it can be a lot longer.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on sanitation and drinking water, 2012 update)
Stunting affects 156 million children under 5 (down from 169 million in 2010)
(UNICEF/WHO/WORLD BANK Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates 2016)
Wasting affects 50 million children under 5
(UNICEF/WHO/WORLD BANK Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates 2016)

Our approach

$28.4 billion of investment is needed every year to reach everyone everywhere with clean water, adequate toilets and good hygiene by 2030.
(World Bank, The costs of meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal targets on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene summary report, 2016)
If everyone everywhere had clean water, the number of diarrhoeal deaths would be cut by 34%.
(Prüss-Ustün A, Bartram J, Clasen T et al. Burden of disease from inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene in low- and middle-income settings: a retrospective analysis of data from 145 countries. Tropical Medicine & International Health. 2014;19(8):894-905. doi:10.1111/tmi.12329)
If everyone everywhere had adequate toilets, the number of diarrhoeal deaths would be cut by 28%.
(Prüss-Ustün A, Bartram J, Clasen T et al. Burden of disease from inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene in low- and middle-income settings: a retrospective analysis of data from 145 countries. Tropical Medicine & International Health. 2014;19(8):894-905. doi:10.1111/tmi.12329.)
If everyone everywhere practised good hygiene, the number of diarrhoeal deaths would be cut by 23%.
(Prüss-Ustün A, Bartram J, Clasen T et al. Burden of disease from inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene in low- and middle-income settings: a retrospective analysis of data from 145 countries. Tropical Medicine & International Health. 2014;19(8):894-905. doi:10.1111/tmi.12329.)
For every $1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of at least $4 is returned in increased productivity. (Sanitation returns $5.50 from $1 and water returns $2 from $1.)
(WHO, Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage, 2012)
Hygiene promotion is one of the most cost effective health interventions according to the World Bank.
(Disease Control Priorities, third edition (volume 2): Reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health, 2016)
Just $30 can provide one person with access to safe water.
(WASHCost and WaterAid, 2014) .

Our achievements

2.6 billion people have gained access to clean water since 1990.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015)
2.1 billion people have gained access to an adequate toilet since 1990.
(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015)


In 2015-16 we reached 1.9 million people with safe water and over 3 million people with sanitation.
(WaterAid, 2016)
Since 1981 we have reached 24 million people with safe water.
(WaterAid, 2016)
Since 2004 we have reached 24 million people with improved sanitation.
(WaterAid, 2016)