Water Statistics

Total volume of water on earth is about 1 million km3. The volume of freshwater is only 2.5% of that total volume, about 35 million km3. (Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World's Fresh Water Resources, Oxford University Press, New York)

Of all the freshwater on Earth, only about 0.3 percent is contained in rivers and lakes—yet rivers and lakes are not only the water we are most familiar with, it is also where most of the water we use in our everyday lives exists. (UGS)

1/3 of the world’s population lacks sufficient access to safe drinking water and sanitation to meet their basic needs. (Pacific Institute 2007 in UNWWDR3 p.36)

900 million people rely on unimproved drinking-water supplies. (WHO/UN-Water, 2008)

In only forty years (1960-2000), global water use has doubled. (Clark & King 2004:19)

Between 1991 and 2000, 665 000 people died in 2557 natural disasters, of which 90% where water-related events. 97% of the victims were from developing countries (SIWI 2005, p.25)

Despite commitments from donors, only 4% of all official development  aid is allocated to the water sector, and is declining. The total aid share to the water sector is below 6%. (UNWWDR3, p.XXI)

The total aid for all aspects for water, as measured by OECD, is increasing in absolute terms but fell from 8% to 5% of total ODA between 1997 and 2008. (WHO/UN-Water, 2010)

Currently 87% of the world uses drinking-water from improved sources, as compared to 77% in 1990.(WHO/UN-Water, 2008)

The GDP of many African countries is strongly correlated with rainfall patterns (World Bank)

The number of people living in water-stressed countries will increase from about 700 million today to more than 3 billion by 2025. (UNDP 2006, p.37)

Every year 3 million people die prematurely from water-related diseases in developing countries. The majority are women and children in rural poor areas who lack access to safe water and sanitation. (UNWWDR3 p.12)

884 million people in the world still do not get their drinking-water from improved sources, almost all of them in developing regions.(WHO/UNICEF 2010)

Unclean water and poor sanitation are the second largest cause of death of children. (UNDP 2006, p.15)

Close to 50% of all people in developing countries suffer at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits. (UNDP 2006, p.15)

Droughts accounted for 280,000 deaths between 1991 and 2000. (WWAP – Facts and Figures)

Among the 2.6 billion people in the world who do not use improved sanitation facilities, by far the greatest number are in Southern Asia (WHO/UNICEF 2010)

Even if the world reaches the MDG target on safe drinking water, 672 million people will still lack access to improved drinking-water sources in 2015. (WHO/UNICEF 2010)

Posted: 2010-05-25

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