Why Water?

Chances are, you’ve never had to think about where your next glass of clean water is coming from.

But in many parts of the world, people walk miles every day just to fill up a 20 liter jerry can with muddy, unsafe water from a river, swamp, or puddle.

In the photo above, you’re  looking at a close-up view of the cholera bacteria, one the viruses that cause serious waterborne illnesses and death. There are an estimated 3–5 million cholera cases worldwide and 100,000–120,000 deaths due to cholera every year*! This can be significantly decreased with more people having access to clean water.

Brush up on your stats below and advocate with others to end the water crisis in our lifetime.

Disease Impact:

  • Dirty water kills more people than all forms of violence including war.
  • Diarrhea kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
  • Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
  • Diarrhea remains in the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhea.
  • Almost one-tenth of the global disease burden could be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources. Such improvements reduce child mortality and improve health and nutritional status in a sustainable way.
  • 88% of cases of diarrhea worldwide are attributable to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene.
  • 90% of all deaths caused by diarrheal diseases are children under 5 years of age, mostly in developing countries.

Collecting Water:

  • A 20 liter jerry can is a common item millions of people in the developing world use to collect, transport, and store their water.
  • A full 20 liter jerry can of water weighs 44 pounds.
  • Millions of women and children spend several hours a day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources.
  • In just one day, more than 200 million hours of women’s time is consumed for the most basic of human needs — collecting water for domestic use.
  • This lost productivity is greater than the combined number of hours worked in a week by employees at Wal*Mart, United Parcel Service, McDonald’s, IBM, Target, and Kroger, according to Gary White, co-founder of Water.org.

Water Usage:

  • 20 liters a day from a source within 1 kilometer of the household is deemed sufficient, according to the World Health Organization, as the minimum requirement per person per day for adequate drinking and personal hygiene. Below this level people are constrained in their ability to maintain their physical well being.
  • If you including bathing and laundry needs it would raise the threshold to about 50 liters a day.
  • For the 1.1 billion or so who live more than 1 kilometer from a water source water use if often less than 5 liters a day of unsafe water.
  • People in Rwandan average just 5 liters a day compared to the US at 575 liters per day or roughly 29 jerry cans.

SUMMARY: Nearly 800 million of the world’s poorest people lack access to clean water, and are forced to travel great distances to collect water from contaminated sources. As a result, water-borne diseases are the leading cause of death globally for children under the age of five, and half the patients in the world’s hospitals are suffering from diseases related to unsafe water.

We are committed to creating access to clean water for the nearly 800 million people who lack it…20 Liters at a time.

* World Health Organization Fact Sheet July 2012