World Water Day occurs on the 22nd day in March every year to bring awareness to the global water crisis. An international observance that dates back to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, World Water Day is an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, take action to make a difference and be inspired to tell others.
To celebrate water’s big day, here are 12 facts courtesy of Water.org:
1. 1.8 billion people around the world lack access to safe water.
2. Globally, a third of all schools lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation.
3. In low- and middle-income countries, a third of all healthcare facilities lack a safe water source.
4. The World Economic Forum in January 2015 ranked the water crisis as the No. 1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation).
5. The incidence of children suffering from stunting and chronic malnutrition — at least 160 million — is linked to water and sanitation.
6. More than 840,000 people die from a water-related disease each year, including diarrhea caused by bad drinking water, hygiene and sanitation.
7. Eighty-two percent of people who don’t have access to “improved” water live in rural areas.
8. More than one-third of people worldwide lack access to a toilet, more than the number of people who have a mobile phone.
9. Women and children spend 125 million hours collecting fresh water every day. Individual women and children spend as many as six hours collecting fresh water daily.
10. Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease.
11. Universal access to safe water and sanitation would result in $18.5 billion in economic benefits each year from deaths avoided alone, a return of $4 for every dollar spent on safe water access.
12. The amount of safe water could drop by 40 percent in 15 years if people do not change the way they use water.
2016 Theme: Better Water, Better Jobs
Join the 2016 campaign to get informed, engaged and take action. You can also contribute on social media by using the hashtags #WaterIsWork and #WorldWaterDay.