The Water Crisis

703 million people lack basic access to safe water


The Global Water Crisis

Clean drinking water and basic sanitation are critical to life. Without them, families walk miles for water that makes them sick, spend their income on medication, and struggle to send their children to school.

The global water crisis impacts 703 million people—about 1 in 12 people—on the planet today. Plus, 1 in 5 lack access to a toilet, a critical element to overall health.

The good news: This is entirely preventable. We can end the crisis in our lifetime.

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Clean Water Changes Everything


Every two minutes, a child dies from a preventable waterborne illness. Without safe drinking water, families rely on contaminated water that makes them sick, and they cannot wash their hands like they should.

The result is not only waterborne illnesses, but colds, flus, and vulnerability to diseases like COVID-19. It’s estimated that 829,000 people die each year as a result of unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation and hygiene.

Access to safe water and sanitation reduces the spread of disease, saving lives in the process.

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Water Crisis

Water Crisis


It’s estimated that 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related illnesses.

In water-poor communities, children spend their days walking to gather water rather than going to school. And without water at schools, children must leave class to find water, sometimes journeying so far that they do not return.

Plus, an estimated 500 million women and girls lack the basic facilities needed for menstrual hygiene management at school. This means many girls do not attend while menstruating, deepening the educational divide.

Access to safe water and improved sanitation gives kids greater health and confidence, resulting in better attendance and more positive outcomes for their futures.

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The global water crisis is an economic crisis.

Productive time spent walking for water or looking for a place to use the bathroom accounts for billions of hours a year lost in economic opportunity.

When families aren’t spending their income on treating waterborne illnesses or their time walking for water, they can invest in things like running a business and education.

For every $1 invested in safe water and sanitation, a yield of $5 to $28 USD is returned in increased economic activity and reduced health care costs. Access to safe water stimulates the economy for the long term.

Learn About How Safe Water Reduces Child Poverty >

sanitation and hygiene

global Water Crisis



The water crisis disproportionately affects women.

In 80% of households without safe water, women and girls are responsible for gathering the day’s water. This takes women and girls away from activities like working and going to school, trapping them in a cycle of poverty.

And when it comes to giving birth, a lack of safe water in health centers results in up to eight percent of all maternal deaths globally. For women who don’t die, infections make them and their infants dangerously sick.

Safe water and sanitation creates a safer environment for women, one where women can live, pursue their dreams, and thrive as God intends.

Learn More About How the Water Crisis Impacts Women >

The Water Crisis:
A Transformation Story

In Busikwe village, Uganda, tall sugarcane surround what used to be the only source of drinking water, a swamp filled with disease. Fourteen-year-old Maureen was overcome with fear every time she gathered water.

“As a girl, it was a threat to get water,” she said. “Two years ago, a girl my age was attacked.”

But, in 2018, Busikwe village received their own safe water. They adopted simple sanitation and hygiene practices to help manage their health.

“We felt at peace when we first received the new well,” Elizabeth, Maureen’s mother, said. “We danced and sang and celebrated.”

Maureen doesn’t fear anymore; instead, she is filled with hope.

“I hope to work for Lifewater!” she announced. “I have seen how they save lives.”

Watch Maureen’s Story Today >

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