World Water Day March 22, 2021

Addressing water scarcity and the need for sanitation and access to clean water globally (UN SDG #6)

Clean water - world water day

785 million (1 in 9) people do not have access to safe water, and 263 million people have to travel over 30 minutes just to access water that isn’t even clean. Furthermore, about 4 billion people, representing nearly two-thirds of the world population, experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year. The United Nations has reported that "water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainably delivered, especially in arid regions." If nothing changes, water scarcity could displace 700 million people by 2030

Gaining a better understanding of how water impacts economic, political, and social stability around the globe and knowing how to solve these problems is vital to addressing the growing water and sanitation crisis.

Why It Matters:

Water is essential not only to health, but also to poverty reduction, food security, peace and human rights, ecosystems and education. Below are a handful of facts and statistics from Water.org about how sanitation and access to clean water impact people and communities around the world.

Health and Hygiene

  • Better water, sanitation, and hygiene could save the lives of 297,000 children under the age of 5 each year.
  • Nearly 1 million people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene-related diseases.
  • Every 2 minutes a child dies from a water-related disease.
  • 160 million children suffer from stunting and chronic malnutrition linked to water and sanitation.
  • 3 billion people globally – 2 out of 5 – don’t have access to soap and water to wash their hands at home.

Education

  • Reductions in time spent collecting water increases school attendance, especially for girls.
  • Globally 1 in 3 schools lacks access to basic water and sanitation.
  • Having a sanitation solution at home means children are more likely to have higher cognitive test scores.
  • For every year a girl stays in school, her income can increase by 15-25%.

Environment

  • People living in poverty are especially vulnerable to the impact of climate change because of their reliance on unstable water and sanitation systems, weaker institutional protections, and limited access to funding.
  • Climate change affects water and sanitation, and water and sanitation services contribute to climate change because of the use of energy.
  • Increasing access to sanitation and improved wastewater management can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The potential risks to water and sanitation services posed by climate change include damage to infrastructure, leading to the loss of services and to deterioration in water quality – impacts that will increase risks to health.

Economic 

  • Every $1 invested in water and sanitation provides a $4 economic return from lower health costs, more productivity and fewer premature deaths.
  • Investing in water and sanitation has considerable economic benefits, including an overall estimated gain of 1.5% of global GDP.
  • Universal access to basic water and sanitation would result in $18.5 billion in economic benefits each year from avoided deaths alone.
  • $260 billion is lost globally each year due to lack of basic water and sanitation.
  • $114 billion per year is needed to achieve safely managed water and sanitation for all by 2030, meeting Sustainable Development Goal 6. Current investments for water and sanitation amount to $28.4 billion per year. This represents a gap of $85.6 billion.

Be Part of the Solution:

Solving the global water crisis will require cross-sector collaboration. If individual donors, businesses, and the government work together to provide necessary support, there’s no reason anyone should suffer the health and economic consequences listed above. America’s Charities members are committed to addressing issues like the water crisis, and you can empower children and families all around the world by supporting these organizations.

In honor of #WorldWaterDay, March 22 every year, America's Charities is celebrating the following agents of change who we are proud to call our members.

You can support their work through workplace giving, matching gift campaigns, and other social responsibility programs. Click below to learn more about each organization. 

  • Feed the Children: Clean water and sanitation intervention for children and their families is crucial to prevent common illness. When children are guaranteed proper health and sanitation measures, they are able to prevent and fight disease, which enables them to develop both physically and mentally into strong children who become contributing members of their communities. Feed the Children's programs promote healthy immune systems and enable children to develop through adolescence and into adulthood. Learn more
  • The Conservation Fund: The Conservation Fund strives to protect our nation’s water resources by finding positive, lasting solutions to conserve it. They use strategic land conservation to protect properties vital to the water supply, whether it’s a plot that holds a community’s drinking supply, an urban area prone to flooding, or regions whose waters are threatened by development. In addition, The Conservation Fund helps cities and communities find ways to manage their water sustainably and effectively. Learn more.

How to Join Us for World Water Day 2021:

  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook as we share how our members’ specific programs are working to address water scarcity and bring clean water to communities around the world. 

  • Donate & raise money for these nonprofits. America's Charities is proud of the work our member charities do in these respective areas. One of the most cost-efficient ways you can support these nonprofits is to donate to them via payroll deduction through your employer's workplace giving program (Don't have a program? Click here to have your employer contact our team.) Click on each charity's name above to learn more about their work, and to make a donation now!