Water connects every aspect of life influencing health, adequate nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, education, gender equality and growing local economies.
Water impacts areas of hygiene, nutrient and disease prevention. 829,000 people who currently die every year from diseases directly caused by unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene practices. Furthermore, 50% of child malnutrition is associated with unsafe water. Resolving the water scarcity will therefore reduce childhood malnutrition, improve poor hygiene practices and restore the health of communities overall.
Girls are generally tasked with collecting water from far to reach areas and deterring them from attending school during the day. Access to safe water and sanitation removes such a challenge. In fact, reductions in time spent collecting water have been found to increase school attendance for girls.
In 8 out of 10 households in the areas with water scarcity, women and girls are responsible for water collection. Women and girls spend an estimated 200 million hours hauling water every day. This takes time away from school and play. Therefore, battling the water crisis will contribute to gender equity, in areas of education, vocation and autonomy.
Universal access to basic water and sanitation would result in $18.5 billion in economic benefits each year from avoided deaths alone. Every $1 invested in water and sanitation provides a $4 economic return from lower health costs, more productivity and fewer premature deaths.