Key facts and figures

Key global facts and figures to use in your advocacy! Download the key facts and figures poster! 

  • 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1990, but 663 million people are still without.
  • At least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is faecally contaminated.
  • Between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the global population using an improved drinking water source has increased from 76% to 91%.
  • But water scarcity affects more than 40% of the global population and is projected to rise. Over 1.7 billion people are currently living in river basins where water use exceeds recharge.
  • 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines.
  • More than 80% of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal.
  • Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhoeal diseases.
  • Approximately 70% of all water abstracted from rivers, lakes and aquifers is used for irrigation.
  • Floods and other water-related disasters account for 70% of all deaths related to natural disasters.[1]
  • Governments need to reprioritise their budget allocations and spending to address the water and sanitation crisis: Global military spending now stands at $1.76 trillion annually, a sum that towers over the estimated $10 to $30 billion a year the UN estimates it would take to provide minimum water services to all.[2]
  • The global economic return on sanitation spending is at least US$ 5.5 per US dollar invested.

Use these figures in your advocacy activities to highlight the scale of the water and sanitation crisis, and to tell government to keep their promises! 

Download the Key facts and figures poster to raise awareness in your networks and communities. And use WASHwatch.org as a powerful tool to monitor your country's progress and hold your governments accountable to their commitments. 


[1] Statistics from United Nations Sustainable Development website: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/water-and-sanitation/

[2] Our Right to Water: Assessing progress five years after the UN recognition of the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation, Maude Barlow (2015) http://on.thestar.com/1Y4FKZl