Disease

  • 1.8 million people die every year from diarrhoeal diseases (including cholera) caused by unclean water and poor sanitation; 90% are children under 5, mostly in developing countries. 1 That is one child every 20 seconds.
  • Most illnesses in developing countries are water-related. 2
  • Water-related disease is the second biggest killer of children worldwide, after acute respiratory infections like tuberculosis. 3

Sanitation

  • Despite increases in coverage, more than 2.5 billion people remain without improved sanitation. Almost 1.8 billion of them - 70 per cent - live in Asia; 22 per cent of them, more than half a billion people, live in sub-Saharan Africa. 4

Access to water

  • 884 million people in the world do not have access to safe water (roughly one out of every eight people in the world). 5
  • In Australia, the average person uses 282 litres of water every day6. The average New Zealander uses about 160 litres per day7.
  • The average person in the developing world uses 10 litres of water every day; the same amount of water we use every time we flush the toilet. 8
  • The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is 6 km.9
  • The weight of water that women in Africa and Asia carry on their heads is commonly 20kg10, the same as the average airport luggage allowance.


  1. World Health Organization Water, sanitation and hygiene links to health. Facts and figures updated November 2004. Available at: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/facts2004/en/index.html
  2. United Nations Press Release SG/SM/8707 OBV/348. Available at: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/sgsm8707.doc.htm
  3. Water Aid’s key facts and statistics. Available at: http://www.wateraid.org/international/what_we_do/statistics/default.asp
  4. WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation Special Focus on Sanitation', p 12. Available at: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/monitoring/jmp2008/en/index.htm
  5. WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation Special Focus on Sanitation', p 32. Available at: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/monitoring/jmp2008/en/index.html
  6. Australia=103kl/capita/365 = 282/day HOUSEHOLD WATER CONSUMPTION, per capita—2000–01 from ABS • WATER ACCOUNT • 4610 . 0 • 2004 – 0 5, page 100 available at http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/DE8E081CDE6116D6CA25727900069279/$File/46100_2004-05_pt2.pdf
  7. Anderton on New Zealand's Sustainable Water Programme, Jim Anderton 5 May, 2006 Available on: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/node/25655
  8. Africa: ‘The Most Effective Vaccine against Child Death in Africa is a Glass of Clean Water’. Page 2.Available at: http://allafrica.com/stories/200611100001.html?page=2
  9. UNESCO, Facts and Figures: Water Supply and Sanitation. Available at: http://www.wateryear2003.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=4096&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
  10. UNESCO, Facts and Figures: Water Supply and Sanitation. Available at: http://www.wateryear2003.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=4096&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html







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Turn on the Tap is a campaign by Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan's Purse is a non profit, Christian organisation providing emergency relief and development assistance to suffering people around the world. Samaritan's Purse is meeting the physical needs of victims of war, poverty, famine, natural disaster and disease with the aim of demonstrating God's love and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. The aid and assistance are given by Samaritan's Purse without regard to the race, creed, gender, religion or ethnicity of the beneficiaries. Camera image by Jill Greenseth. Tapwall image by vladimix
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