27 Top Drinking Water Statistics and Facts

1. 2 billion people don’t have access to safely managed drinking water

(Drinking water from an improved water source that is located on premises, available when needed and free from faecal and priority chemical contamination)

Source: JMP (WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, 2015)

2 Billion lack access to safely managed drinking water

2.Only 55% of the rural population use safely managed services

Source: JMP, 2017

 3. 263 million have to walk more than 30 minutes (round trip) to collect drinking water

Source: JMP

263 million

4. In 15 countries, at least one in five people drink bottled water, and use an improved source for other purposes

5. 159 million people collect water directly from an unprotected source (a river, dam, lake, pond, stream, canal or irrigation canal)

Source: JMP

6. 17 % use improved sources of water located off-premises, but within a 30 minute round trip

7. 58 % of people who drink from an unprotected source live in sub-Saharan Africa

Source: JMP

Fact 4

8. Half the people in the developing world are suffering from one or more of the main diseasesassociated with inadequate provision of water supply and sanitation services: diarrhea, ascaris, dracunculiasis (guinea worm), hookworm, schistosomiasis (bilharzias, or snail fever), and trachoma.

Source: UN Millennium Project Task Force on Water and Sanitation, Abridged Edition Health, Dignity, and Development: What Will It Take?, 2005

9. Women and girls are responsible for collecting water in 8 out of 10 households (with water off premises)

Source: JMP, 2017

women collecting water

CC Image by Katie Hunt on Flickr

10. More than half the hospital beds in the world are filled with people suffering from water-related diseases.

Source: UN

11. 844 million people lack access to basic water service

(Water from an improved source is available on premises. Collection time is not more than 30 min for a round trip, including queuing)

Source JMP, 2017

12. In 2003, 1.6 million deaths were estimated to be attributable to unsafe water and sanitation, including lack of hygiene; 90% of this burden is concentrated on children under five, mostly in developing countries.

Source: WHO, 2004

13. 71% of the global population used safely managed drinking water services in 2015

Source: JMP

Gray areas in the map have insufficient data

14. Australia and New Zealand and North America and Europe are already very close to achieving universal basic drinking water services, while Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Eastern Asia andSouth-eastern Asia, are on track to achieve universal access by 2030

Source: JMP, 2017

15. 3 billion people use basic water services

Water from an improved source is available on premises. Collection time is not more than 30 min for a round trip, including queuing

Source: JMP

Access to Water by Country (Interactive map)

16. According to the World Health Organization, the simple act of washing hands at critical times can reduce the number of diarrheal cases by up to 35 percent.

Source: UN

17. According to the World Health Organization, 1.6 million deaths per year can be attributed to unsafe water, poor sanitation, and lack of hygiene

Source: WHO, 2004

Water Quality

CC Image on Flickr by DFID

18. Point-of-use disinfection and safe storage would lead to a reduction of diarrhoea episodes of 45 percent.

Source: UN

19. Some 6 million people worldwide are blind because of trachoma, and more than 150 million people are in need of treatment.

It is the leading cause of preventable blindness. The disease is strongly related to overcrowding and the absence of nearby sources of safe water for washing the face and hands. Improving access to safe water sources and better hygiene practices can reduce trachoma morbidity by 27 percent.

Source: UN

20. By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.

Source: WHO

21. Arsenic is naturally present at high levels in the groundwater of a number of countries.

Arsenic is highly toxic in its inorganic form.

Contaminated water used for drinking, food preparation and irrigation of food crops poses the greatest threat to public health from arsenic.

Source: WHO

22. Long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking-water and food can cause cancer and skin lesions. It has also been associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In utero and early childhood exposure has been linked to negative impacts on cognitive development and increased deaths in young adults.

Source: WHO

23. Diarrhoea occurs world-wide and causes 4% of all deaths and 5% of health loss to disability.

Source: WHO

24. Each year there are approximately 4 billion cases of diarrhoea worldwide.

Source: WHO

25. Each year diarrhoea kills around 525 000 children under five.

Source: WHO

26. Access for all to improved water and sanitation services would cost around US$22.6 billion per year

Source: WHO, 2004

Cost of Pure Water

CC Image on Flickr by Oxfam East Africa

27. Researchers have estimated that each year there are 1.3 million to 4.0 million cases of cholera, and 21 000 to 143 000 deaths worldwide due to cholera

Source: Ali M, Nelson AR, Lopez AL, Sack D. (2015). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9(6): e0003832. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003832.

To prevent the spread of cholera, the following four interventions are essential:

Provision of adequate safe drinking-water

Proper personal hygiene

Proper food hygiene

Hygienic disposal of human excreta.


WHO: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs391/en/

JMP: Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, 2017

UN Millennium Project Task Force on Water and Sanitation, Abridged Edition Health, Dignity, and Development: What Will It Take? 2005