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10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Water

Ten interesting facts that you didn't know about water.

In the United States, we often take water for granted. A shower and a glass of water are usually just a turn of a faucet away.

But, that is not true in many developing countries.

Plan International USA’s work in water, sanitation, and hygiene aims to create sustainable solutions for communities with limited access to clean water.

Here are 10 facts we bet you didn’t know about water:

  1. 663 million people don’t have access to safe drinkable water—that’s one in every nine people!

  2. The average American uses 80-100 gallons of water a day, 10 times more water than the average person in a rural community in sub-Saharan Africa.

  3. A one-minute shower with a conventional showerhead uses more water (at least 5 gallons) than most people in sub-Saharan Africa use in an entire day for basic drinking and hygiene purposes (average: 2-5 gallons).

  4. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5 gallons of water is sufficient for very basic drinking, cooking, and handwashing needs in a developing country, but other common tasks that require larger volumes of water such as bathing or laundry are difficult to achieve with only 5 gallons.

  5. In Africa and Asia, women and girls walk an average of 6km a day carrying water that weighs more than 40lbs.

    Imagine that. It’s equivalent to carrying two cases of soda, or a 40” flat screen television for more than 3.5 miles.

  6. Each day people—mostly women and girls—spend 125 million hours collecting water. With safe access to clean water, those hours could instead be spent in a classroom, on income generation, or having fun.

  7. 66 children die from diarrhea every hour; access to clean water reduces this risk significantly.

  8. When schools have water and sanitation facilities, attendance rates increase, especially for girls. Unfortunately, globally one third of all schools lack access to sanitation and drinkable water.

  9. 160 million children suffer from stunting and malnutrition, which has lifelong impacts on their health, education, and economic potential; 50 percent of undernutrition is linked to lack of clean water and sanitation.

  10. 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water since 1990, which equals more than eight times the population of the United States.


In 2015, Plan supported the construction or rehabilitation of 2,600 water systems.


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