From the Field

Water facts: Good news and a global challenge

Here’s a simple fact: Water is life. Every human being needs water to survive.

The good news is that 2.6 billion people gained access to an improved drinking-water source between 1990 and 2015, according to the U.N. That’s an increase from 76 percent of the global population to 91 percent during that time.

The goal of halving the proportion of people without access to improved water sources was met five years ahead of schedule. Life is improving for millions of people.

This news is worth celebrating, especially because thousands fewer children will die this year of preventable water-related diseases.

But the world is in a challenging place when it comes to water. Water is only getting more difficult to come by in areas affected by drought or conflict and as populations grow.

By 2050, at least one in four people will likely live in a country affected by chronic or recurring fresh-water shortages.

Despite gains in recent decades, the challenge remains to help everyone get access to life-giving water.

Water facts you should know:

  • On average, each person needs a minimum of 2 to 4 gallons of water per day for drinking, washing, and cooking.
  • The average American uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
  • You have sufficient access to water if your water source is within 1,640 feet from your home and you spend 30 minutes or less in line to get water, according to SPHERE development standards.
  • One of the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals aims to provide universal access to clean water and sanitation by 2030. This also includes reducing pollution and improving water quality, providing adequate sanitation and hygiene access, and protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems.
  • For every $1 invested in clean water globally, the economic return generated is $2.
  • World Vision reached 4.6 million people with improved access to clean water in 2016.

So, investing in water is a good idea. Take the challenge to help bring clean water to people around the world who still need it.

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