Killer facts on water

Oxfam and local partner organisations distributed up to 6,500 jerry cans in Papua New Guinea - one of the countries hit hardest by the most recent El Nino in the Pacific. Photo: Rodney Dekker/OxfamAUS.

  • One billion people in our world live without safe drinking water.
  • Today, 2.6 billion people, including almost one billion children, live without basic sanitation.
  • Diarrhoea kills more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
  • Dirty water is killing more people than wars and other violence.
  • There are over one million children dying every year from dirty water and poor sanitation.
  • When combined, safe water, sanitation and hygiene reduce the number of deaths caused by diarrhoea by 65 percent.
  • The minimum estimated amount of safe water every individual needs is 20 to 50 litres every day.
  • The average person in the developing world uses 10 litres of water every day for their drinking, washing and cooking. This is the same amount used in the average flush of a New Zealand toilet.
  • New Zealanders each use between 160-400 litres per day.
  • The weight of water that women in Africa and Asia carry on their heads is commonly 20kg, the same as the average NZ airport luggage allowance.
  • 40 billion working hours are spent carrying water each year in Africa.
  • 443 million school days are lost due to water related diseases.
  • 11 percent more girls attend school when sanitation is available.
  • Oxfam projects providing safe water, sanitation and hygiene education cost on average just $45 per head.

Graphic: UN WaterYour support can go a long way

    • $35 for a tap stand so five families can access safe drinking water
    • $80 to provide fittings for a village water system
    • $95 to help provide a cement base for a shower for five families
    • $250 to help train local villagers to educate their community in the health risks associated with open defecation and unclean water

*Facts are taken from the following sources: United Kingdom Department For International Development, United Nations Children Fund, United Nations Human Development Report, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, World Health Organization, World Water Assessment Programme.