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| Last Updated:: 09/12/2020


Key facts


  • In 2017, 71% of the global population (5.3 billion people) used a safely managed drinking-water service – that is, one located on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination.


  • 90% of the global population (6.8 billion people) used at least a basic service. A basic service is an improved drinking-water source within a round trip of 30 minutes to collect water.


  • 785 million people lack even a basic drinking-water service, including 144 million people who are dependent on surface water.


  • Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces.


  • Contaminated water can transmit diseases such diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio. Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 485 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year.


  • By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.


  • In least developed countries, 22% of health care facilities have no water service, 21% no sanitation service, and 22% no waste management service.


Source: Updated on 8th Dec , 2020


The Facts about Water at Global Level




  • Contemporary global water demand has been estimated at about 4,600 km3 per year and projected to increase by 20–30% to between 5,500 and 6,000 km3 per year by 2050 (Burek et al., 2016).


  • Water use increases at the global level, as a function of population growth, economic development and changing consumption patterns, among other factors.


  • Over the period 2017–2050, the world population is expected to increase from 7.7 billion to between 9.4 and 10.2 billion, with two thirds of the population living in cities. More than half of this anticipated growth is expected to occur in Africa (+1.3 billion), with Asia (+0.75 billion) expected to be the second largest contributor to future population growth (UNDESA, 2017).


  • Global water use has increased by a factor of six over the past 100 years (Wada et al., 2016) and continues to grow steadily at a rate of about 1% per year (AQUASTAT, n.d.).


  • Domestic water use, which roughly accounts for 10% of global water withdrawals, is expected to increase significantly over the 2010–2050 period in nearly all regions of the world. In relative terms, the greatest increases in domestic demand should occur in African and Asian sub-regions where it could more than triple, and it could more than double in Central and South America (Burek et al., 2016). This anticipated growth can be primarily attributed to an anticipated increase in water supply services in urban settlements.


  • Groundwater use globally, mainly for agriculture, amounts to 800 km3 per year in the 2010s, with India, the United States of America (USA), China, Iran and Pakistan (in descending order) accounting for 67% of total abstractions worldwide (Burek et al., 2016).


  • Global demands for agricultural and energy production (mainly food and electricity), both of which are waterintensive, are expected to increase by roughly 60% and 80%, respectively by 2025 (Alexandratos and Bruinsma, 2012; OECD, 2012).


  •  Meeting the estimated 60% increase in food demand will require the expansion of arable land under business-as-usual. Under prevailing management practices, intensification of production involves increased mechanical disturbance of soil and inputs of agrochemicals, energy and water. These drivers associated with food systems account for 70% of the predicted loss of terrestrial biodiversity by 2050 (Leadley et al., 2014). However, these impacts, including requirements for more land and water, can largely be avoided if further intensification of production is based on ecological intensification that involves improving ecosystem services to reduce external inputs (FAO, 2011b).


Source :


  • An estimated 663 million people worldwide do not have access to an improved drinking-water source (UNICEF/WHO, 2015), and an estimated 1.9 billion people rely on drinking-water that is faecally contaminated (Bain et al., 2014). Improved water sources that are not operated or maintained properly may deliver water that is microbiologically contaminated (WHO/UNICEF, 2011). In addition, microbial recontamination often occurs during collection of water at the source, transport and storage within the home (Wright, Gundry & Conroy, 2004).


  • In 2015, 91% of the world’s population had access to an improved drinking-water source, compared with 76% in 1990.


  • 2.6 billion people have gained access to an improved drinking-water source since 1990.


  • 4.2 billion people now get water through a piped connection; 2.4 billion access water through other improved sources including public taps, protected wells and boreholes.


  • 663 million people rely on unimproved sources, including 159 million dependent on surface water.


  • Globally, at least 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water source contaminated with faeces.


  • Contaminated water can transmit diseases such diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Contaminated drinking-water is estimated to cause 502 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year.


  • By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.



  • In low- and middle-income countries, 38% of health care facilities lack any water source, 19% do not have improved sanitation and 35% lack water and soap for handwashing.


Source: World Health Organisation





Of all the water on earth, only 2.5 per cent is fresh water


Approximately 66 per cent of the human body consists of water.


The total amount of water in the body of an average adult is 37 litres.


Human brains are 75 per cent water, bones are 25 per cent water and blood is 83 per cent water.


A person can live about a month without food, but only about a week without water.


A person must consume 2 litres of water daily to live healthily.


Humans drink an average of 75,000 litres of water throughout their life.


Ground water supplies serve about 80 per cent of the population, whereas up to 4 per cent of usable ground water is already polluted!.


In developing countries each day, almost 10,000 children under the age of five die as a result of illnesses contracted by use of impure water.


About 25,700 litres of water is required to grow a day’s food for a family of four


Over 70,000 different water contaminants have been identified.


Water is one of India’s most pressing problems — 80 per cent of infectious diseases are water borne and 1.5 million pre-school children in India die every year from diarrhoea.


More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world.


Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours.


Of the 60 million people added to the world's towns and cities every year, most move to informal settlements (i.e. slums) with no sanitation facilities.


780 million people lack access to an improved water source; approximately one in nine people.


[The water and sanitation] crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.


An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day.


Source:,,  Report Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene