The importance of water

Can you imagine life without clean water to drink? For millions of people it's a daily reality.

We believe everyone has the right to clean water to drink and a safe place to go to the toilet. When people have these things they can lead healthy, dignified and productive lives.

But this often isn’t the case. 844 million people around the world – one in nine – still live without clean water close to home, and 2.3 billion – almost one in three – people don't have a decent toilet of their own.

Women and girls suffer the most, often having to make the long walk to collect dirty water that stops them from going to school, earning a living and achieving their dreams.

At WaterAid, we tackle the reasons why millions of the world’s poorest people live without these vital services, and work with local partners in 34 countries to transform millions of lives every year by improving access to clean water, toilets and hygiene.

We also campaign tirelessly to make sure that taps and toilets are at the top of the political agenda, and that governments recognise that access to clean water and sanitation is crucial to eradicating poverty.

Find out how we transform lives with clean water >

Our approach

Some groups, such as women or disabled people, often miss out on services like clean water, toilets and hygiene. This affects their health, and prevents them from living dignified and prosperous lives.

Clean water, sanitation and hygiene services should benefit everybody. For example, safe toilets and clean water points should be accessible for wheelchair users and menstrual hygiene education should be available for all women and girls.

We work with local partners to reach the poorest and most marginalised people, and call on governments to provide solutions for everyone, everywhere.

We believe governments can enable change so that public and private organisations and civil society can all operate effectively.

We also work with governments to develop national strategies to reach everyone, everywhere with clean water, toilets and hygiene.

Find out about the technologies we use >

£1 pie chart

 people live without clean water.

Let's change that for the better.

people don't have a decent toilet.

One in three people.

under-five die each day.

From diseases caused by dirty water and poor toilets.

Making change happen

We believe that taps and toilets play a crucial role in eradicating poverty.

That’s why over the last three years our supporters campaigned tirelessly to help us achieve something life-changing: a dedicated Global Goal for water and sanitation.

In September 2015, world leaders met at the United Nations General Assembly and committed to 17 Global Goals – on issues including health, hunger and education – with the aim of ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and fixing climate change.

Generating support

The generosity of our supporters is behind everything we do. Individuals, companies, trusts, foundations and governments are all committed to our vision of a world where everyone, everywhere has clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene by 2030.

Donations from appeals, events and funding partnerships provide the vital resources to carry out our work.

Many of our tireless, intrepid and inventive supporters are also fantastic campaigners and advocates, telling their friends about WaterAid, encouraging others to get involved, and raising the profile of the issues behind the crisis.

How you can make a difference >