World Water Day 2021: 10 Facts About the Water Crisis

A staggering 784 million people live without basic access to clean water. That’s roughly 1 in 10 people on earth. Monday, March 22 is World Water Day 2021, a day to consider the impact of clean water in the world, and make a difference.

When Did World Water Day Start?

World Water Day was established by the United Nations (UN) in 1993 as an international day to highlight the importance of safe water and brings awareness to the world water crisis. Today, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by the year 2030.

At Lifewater, we believe every child deserves safe water. That’s why, for over 40 years, we’ve worked to end the water crisis by constructing high-quality, lasting safe water sources in the world’s most water-poor communities.

For World Water Day 2021, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 water facts to know this year. They are immense, preventable, and they demand an urgent response. We urge you to reflect on these facts with us as we affirm our commitment to ending the world water crisis.

World Water Day
A child in Tanzania gathering contaminated water from a pond.

10 Facts About the World Water Crisis

  1. 784 million people around the world are without basic water access. That’s more than twice the population of the United States.
  2. More people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war.
  3. Two billion people, or about 1 in 4, lack access to a toilet or latrine.
  4. Diarrheal diseases, caused primarily by unsafe water and poor sanitation, kill more children under 5 years old than malaria, AIDS, and measles combined.
  5. Diarrheal disease kills one child every 60 seconds.
  6. About a quarter (22%) of health facilities in Least Developed Countries have no safe water.
  7. In sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls spend an estimated 40 billions hours a year collecting water.
  8. An estimated 400 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases, with 272 million lost to diarrhea alone.
  9. Lost time gathering water significantly reduces productive farming time for women in parts of the developing world. With safe water nearby, it’s estimated that women could feed 150 million of the world’s hungry.
  10. For every $1 invested in safe water and sanitation, a yield of $5 to $28 USD is returned in increased economic activity and reduced health care costs. Access to safe water stimulates the economy for the long-term.
World Water Day
A girl in Tanzania carrying water back home.

World Water Day 2021: Solve the Crisis in our Lifetime

The problem is huge, but it is not unsolvable. For over 40 years, Lifewater donors have helped millions of people get safe water and practice life-saving healthy habits. Every year, the number of people worldwide without safe water is reduced. The water crisis is retreating.

We can solve this crisis in our lifetime, and we expect to. Still, there is still a long way to go.

We can’t do it without you. This World Water Day, give safe water. Help solve the world water crisis so that no child goes without safe water.


Choose a Village. Change a Life.