Everyone, everywhere needs clean water. For many of us, it's normal to have it on tap. We use it every day in all sorts of ways and don’t think too much about it. But can you imagine life without it?

What is life like without clean water?

That's the reality for 1 in 10 people around the world – 771 million people.

When you don't have a reliable source of clean water, you have no choice but to collect dirty water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. This can spread deadly disease like cholera. 

8 year old Akshana belongs to a community who were affected by unprecedented floods in Pakistan. A local landlord gave her tribe shelter and land where they can stay indefinitley. She has to walk nearly 1500 ft multiples times a day to get clean drink ...
Unprecedented flooding in 2022 polluted the water supply in eight-year-old Akshana's community in coastal Pakistan. Now, she has to walk half a kilometre every time she needs to fetch drinking water.
WaterAid/ Khaula Jamil

It often means a long walk to the nearest stream or river, usually for women and girls, so there’s little time or energy left for paid work or school.

Whole communities are held back, simply because they don’t have clean water.

Why don't people just boil water, or move closer?

Boiling water doesn’t get rid of particles of dirt and burning a constant supply of fuel can be very difficult, expensive and bad for people’s health and the environment.

A community cannot move every time a water source dries up – it is unlikely they will find a reliable source of clean water elsewhere.

Climate change is making things even worse. Extreme weather such as heavy rain causes flooding and pollutes water sources. More frequent droughts dry up already unreliable water sources.

Find out more answers to common questions about our work

The climate crisis is a water crisis

Rasheeda and her daughter Shaista collect stagnant flood water to wash clothes with after a devastating monsoon flooded their village in Pakistan.

Find out more about how climate change is affecting access to water
WaterAid/ Khaula Jamil

How does WaterAid support people to get clean water?

Since 1981, 28.5 million people have got clean water with our support. With taps they can rely on close to home, school and work, people can stay healthy. Girls can swap their daily walk for water for a walk to school. Women can give birth safely. And whole communities can thrive.

We know clean water, along with decent toilets and good hygiene, really does save lives. 

There are still millions of people who face the dangers of drinking dirty water every day.

560 miles from the capital city, women and girls on their way to collect water on the RN13 (Route Nationale 13), Androy region, Madagascar, September 2021.
Women and girls on their way to collect water in Androy region, Madagascar. This arid region has a dry climate and unpredictable rainfall which is continuously aggravated by climate change. Finding water and threats of famine are a constant worry.
WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala

Water is a human right, and we are determined to make sure it’s a normal part of daily life for everyone, everywhere.

Find out how we’re using technology to provide reliable sources of water

We focus on long-term solutions

Watch our video The Water Chain to see what it takes to make a system work. We work with all the different links in the chain to make sure water, sanitation and hygiene services are delivered to everyone and sustained long into the future.

We’re determined to reach everyone, everywhere with sustainable clean water.

We can only achieve this by working in partnership, innovating and influencing for bigger and longer-lasting change.

What can I do?

Make a donation today and help to transform lives

Support our work to provide a reliable source of water to people like Mulu in Ethiopia.

WaterAid/ Genaye Eshetu

Read our stories from around the world 

As well as exciting projects we run to raise awareness and money to reach people with clean water.

WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

What we do 

We’re not here for short-term fixes. With local communities we find sustainable solutions so that people can change their lives for good.

WaterAid/ Habibul Haque