FAST FACTS

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Today, 1.1 billion people ─ one in six ─ do not have access to a safe and adequate water supply. This number could increase to 2.3 billion by 2025. (United Nations Development Programme, PlayPumps International)

DSC02653_les_resMost of our freshwater is used to grow food and other agricultural crops. Worldwide, agriculture accounts for 80% of global water consumption, and in Africa and Asia it accounts for 90%. To feed a growing world population, it is estimated that 14-17% more fresh water will be needed for irrigation by 2030. (United Nations Environment Programme)

Of all water on Earth, 97.5% is salt water. Freshwater accounts for only 2.5% of the earth’s water, and only a small fraction of this amount is available for human use. Some 70% is frozen in the polar icecaps and the other 30% is mostly present as soil moisture or lies in underground aquifers. In the end, less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and in underground sources shallow enough to be tapped at affordable cost. In other words, if all the earth’s water fit in a gallon jug, available fresh water would equal just over a tablespoon. (World Health Organization)

Millions of women and young girls spend hours everyday walking to collect water from distant, often polluted water sources. This chore keeps girls out of school and restricts women’s choices and opportunities. (United Nations Development Programme)

1.8 million people die every year from diarrheal diseases (including cholera), most of whom are children under 5 in developing countries. Nearly 90% of these deaths are attributed to unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, or poor hygiene. Almost half of these deaths are preventable; access to safe water and improved sanitation and hygiene, such as washing one’s hands with soap, could save at least 1 million lives per year. (World Health Organization, Healthy Environments for Children Alliance)

In the U.S., the average person uses 100-176 gallons of water at home each day. The average African family uses about 5 gallons of water each day. (WaterPartners International)

Climate change is expected to account for about 20% of the global increase in water scarcity this century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that global warming will alter precipitation patterns around the world, melt mountain glaciers, and worsen the extremes of droughts and floods. (World Resources Institute)

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