Top ten facts about water on world water day

by Anna Kharbanda | Plan UK
Monday, 21 March 2016 11:38 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

To mark World Water Day (22 March 2016), humanitarian aid and global child right’s charity Plan UK have produced ten interesting facts about water.

Plan works in 50 countries around the world and many of the charity’s projects involve providing communities with access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and education on good hygiene.

In 2015, Plan supported the construction or rehabilitation of 2,600 water systems.



  1. 663 million people don’t have access to safe drinkable water - that’s one in every nine people.
  2. The average American uses 80-100 gallons of water a day, 10 times more water than the average person in a rural community in sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. A one-minute shower with a conventional showerhead uses more water (at least 5 gallons) than most people in sub-Saharan Africa use in an entire day for basic drinking and hygiene purposes (average: 2-5 gallons).
  4.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5 gallons of water is sufficient for very basic drinking, cooking, and hand washing needs in a developing country, but other common tasks that require larger volumes of water such as bathing or laundry are difficult to achieve with only 5 gallons.
  5. In Africa and Asia, women and girls walk an average of 6km a day carrying water that weighs more than 40lbs. Imagine that. It’s equivalent to carrying two cases of soda, or a 40” flat screen television for more than 3.5 miles.
  6. Each day people - mostly women and girls - spend 125 million hours collecting water. With safe access to clean water, those hours could instead be spent in a classroom, on income generation, or having fun.
  7. 66 children die from diarrhoea every hour; access to clean water reduces this risk significantly.
  8. When schools have water and sanitation facilities, attendance rates increase, especially for girls. Unfortunately, globally one third of all schools lack access to sanitation and drinkable water.
  9. 160 million children suffer from stunting and malnutrition, which has lifelong impacts on their health, education, and economic potential; 50 percent of malnutrition is linked to lack of clean water and sanitation.
  10. 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water since 1990. 


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