Water in Our World: Our Most Precious Resource

Water is one of the world’s most precious resources and one that is often taken for granted. Even today, access to safe drinking water is not a guarantee for many people across the world and as climate change takes its toll predictions point to this situation becoming even more dire in the future unless we start to take action now.

The majority of people without access to water live in rural, isolated areas and spend hours collecting water. In many areas of water insecurity, pipes, taps, and wells do not exist, are not affordable, or are not currently designed to last. Safe, secure access to water ensures greater access to education for children, disease prevention, and economic security. The access to safe, clean water is a basic human right.

To celebrate World Water Day, the Impakter team created a list of some of the most enlightening facts about H20, in order to shed some light on the global situation. 

Let’s get this started then:

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Photo Credit: Flickr/juliatweedie 

Planet Earth: Water is a precious resource— with about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water only less than 1 percent is available for human use.

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People: Worldwide one in nine people don’t have access to safe or clean drinking water, which equates to 783 million people.

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Photo Credit: Mark Clinton 

Access: 13 million people are without water access in developed countries, 32 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, 332 million in Africa, 155 million in South, West, and Central Asia, 131 million in Southeast, East Asia, and Oceania.

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Women: In seven out of ten developing countries, women and girls are responsible for water collection. In fact, they make up to 72 percent of the people who are tasked with fetching water.

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Photo Credit: Nala Rinaldo  

Education: Reductions in time spent collecting water have been found to increase school attendance. In Africa alone, women spend 40 billion hours a year walking for water. Women are responsible for 72 percent of the water collected in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Photo Credit: Simon Cumbers Media Fund 

Economics: Time spent gathering water around the world translates to $24 billion in lost economic benefits each year.

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Photo Credit: David Grandmougin

Sanitation: 1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet: that’s roughly 2.4 billion people. Actually, more people have a mobile phone than a toilet.

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 Photo Credit: UNICEF

Health: Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease. Water, sanitation and hygiene-related disease kills nearly 1 million people each year.

Photo Credit: Mark Clinton

Money: Universal access to safe water and sanitation would result in $32 billion in economic benefits each year from reductions in health care costs and increased productivity from reduced illness.

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Photo Credit: Water Aid

Food: 1 pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water.


Photo Credit: Morgan Massen

Oceans: Only 46 percent of all coral reefs are considered to be in good health, “while a fifth of all reefs have died and 60 percent are at risk to be destroyed. The biggest threat to the reefs is currently in South East Asia where 80 percent are in danger. Scientists are predicting that by 2050 all global coral ecosystems will be threatened.”



Our land: Globally, the agricultural sector consumes about 70 percent of the planet’s accessible freshwater – more than twice that of industry (23%), and dwarfing municipal use (8%).

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Photo Credit: Nala Rinaldo 

The BIG Number: Overall, the world is using 9,087 billion cubic meters of water per year. China, India and the U.S. consumed the highest annual totals: 1,207 billion, 1,182 billion and 1,053 billion cubic meters, respectively.

nicole eddy - world - water - day - rocks - Photo Credit: Nicole Eddy 

Unsustainable: A small bag of peanut M&M’s requires 300 gallons of water to produce.


Photo Credit: Zaria Forman 


Featured Image: Fishing off Atauro Island, Timor-Leste Credit: Flickr.UN Photo 

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