The real value of water

When a community gets clean water for the first time, it creates a powerful ripple effect, saving lives and improving people’s health, education and livelihoods. Water is just the beginning.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to shake all of us to our core. Tragically, it has reversed decades of progress in development and is deepening the poverty endemic to millions of people around the world.

This crisis has worsened inequalities, leaving the most vulnerable communities without even the basic services that keep us all healthy, productive and safe: clean water, sanitation and hygiene.

But providing clean water to everyone, everywhere is more than just the right thing to do. It has the potential to reap huge economic rewards.

In July, WaterAid released a report with McKinsey & Co, Mission Critical, detailing how investments in water, sanitation and hygiene will unlock trillions of dollars of value in coming decades. It is truly mission critical if we are going to overcome some of the most urgent global problems including climate change, Covid-19, gender inequality and severe poverty. It matters to all of us. The data shows that access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene would save billions of dollars in time, productivity, and health care costs. These are billions of dollars we can’t afford to lose.

As a WaterAid supporter, you understand that if you lack access to clean water, little else matters. With your support, we won’t stop until we reach everyone, everywhere. People are counting on us.

With gratitude,

Kelly Parsons | WaterAid

Kelly Parsons, CEO

WaterAid America

Mission Critical key statistics

122 million days

Running water in every house would free up 122 million unpaid workdays for women and girls each year.

Portrait of Cynthia, 6, posing infront of their newly toilet block at Primary school of Mahavoky village, Belavabary commune, Moramanga district, Alaotra Mangoro region, Madagascar. May 2017.
Image: WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala

Generate $86 billion

Providing everyone, everywhere with a proper toilet would generate $86 billion per year in greater productivity and reduced health costs.

G. carries her harvested crops in a bowl on her way home, West Bengal, India
Image: WaterAid/ Ranita Roy

$1 invested saves $62

As extreme weather increases worldwide, every dollar spent on ensuring water infrastructure is resilient to flooding could avoid at least $62 in flood restoration costs.

A water monitor testing a new rain gauge in her village in the commune of Tenkodogo, in the Centre-East region, Burkina Faso, June 2019.
Image: WaterAid/ Basile Ouedraogo
Image: WaterAid/ Drik/ Tapash Paul

Clean water comes to Manjakandriana

Deep in the mountains of Madagascar lies the district of Manjakandriana where people grow rice, corn, peanuts, beans, and cassava for the country and export. The area’s beauty amidst the dense forests of majestic Baobab trees belies the hardships its residents face.

For generations the people of Manjakandriana have had to rely on water from hand-dug wells that was not safe for human consumption. Few families had toilets, and even soap was considered a luxury. These challenges caused people to frequently suffer dehydration and sickness, which meant their bodies couldn’t absorb the needed nutrients from food.

Women and children were especially vulnerable, having one of the highest maternal, newborn, and child mortality rates in the country. Just 37 percent of students finish primary school and only 8 percent finish secondary school, resulting in a continued cycle of poverty in the community.

Thanks to your support, WaterAid worked with residents to understand their needs and assess resources. We installed a climate resilient gravity flow scheme to ensure reliable access to clean water during droughts or floods. Now, over 12,000 people enjoy convenient access to clean, safe water, including in 9 schools and 2 health care centers. The ripple effect of each drop of water will help residents of Manjakandriana live healthier lives, and open up possibilities for the future. You helped to make this a reality.

A lasting impact

By involving the whole community in construction and maintenance, this water system will be sustainable for generations to come. Its impact will spread far beyond Manjakandriana, too, influencing how the government brings clean water to more communities across Madagascar. It’s a ripple effect. And it’s only the beginning.

“We have got two new taps in our village...I am very excited about it and I can’t wait to fetch water there.” --Malala

Malala, sitting outside her house in the Analamanga region, Madagascar
Image: WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala

Your impact around the world

By the numbers

Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, WaterAid reached more than 10 million patients and staff at health centers with good hygiene at points of care.

Image: WaterAid/Joey Lawrence

In school

Your support helped reach the following number of school children and staff:
+143,000 with clean water
+131,000 with decent toilets
+1,400,000 with handwashing and hygiene

Image: WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala

In health care clinics

Your support helped reach the following number of patients and staff in health care clinics and hospitals:
+795,000 with clean water
+852,000 with decent toilets
+ 10,000,000 with handwashing and hygiene

Image: WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

40 years of empowering communities

This year we celebrated the 40th anniversary of our founding by water engineers in the United Kingdom. We’re forty years into solving the water crisis, together. We’ve made tremendous progress, reaching over 28 million people with clean water so far. That’s millions of people with better health, education and livelihoods. That’s millions of people better equipped to thrive. All of this is thanks to you. Let’s keep striving, together.

About WaterAid

WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene a reality for everyone, everywhere within a generation. We work in 34 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people.

Image: WaterAid/ Sibtain Haider

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