What Are Some Global Water Crisis Facts?
One of the risks to community health can be the level of cleanliness, or lack thereof, of the water. The world continues to experience a global water crisis due to water scarcity and contamination.
Here are some global water crisis facts from the World Health Organization (WHO).1
- In 2017, only 71 percent of the global population (5.3 billion people) used a safe drinking-water service free from contamination.
- 785 million people worldwide lack a safe drinking water service.
- 144 million people are dependent on surface water (water in rivers and ponds). People in rural areas frequently use unfiltered surface water to clean dishes and bathe.
- Two billion people globally use drinking water contaminated with feces.
- 829,000 people die each year from diarrhea because of unsafe drinking water, sanitation and hand hygiene.
- The WHO estimates that by 2025, over 50 percent of the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas.
According to WHO, “In 2010, The UN General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation. Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use.”2 Water is a human right, but it is an achingly limited resource.
Illness, infection and dehydration from unsafe drinking water are leading causes of death worldwide. According to a 2014 study of the 500 largest cities, one in four cities experience “water stress.” Water stress indicates that the demand for safe and accessible water exceeds supply. These water crisis statistics are concerning, so groups like WHO, the United Nations, and more research this issue and provide water-usage guidelines.
1 “Water, sanitation, hygiene and health: A primer for health professionals.” World Health Organization. 2019. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-CED-PHE-WSH-19.149.
2 “Drinking Water.” World Health Organization. June 14, 2019. https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drinking-water.