Facts About Water - Compassion International

Water Facts
Get the facts about safe water and how it affects children living in poverty.

clean water graphic

One of the most critical needs in the fight against poverty around the world is the need for clean water.

Deaths from diseases caused by dirty water are easily preventable. Even so, lack of access to clean water continues to complicate life for those in poverty.

  • Globally, at least 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water source contaminated with faeces. 1
  • By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. 1
  • 2.6 billion people have gained access to an improved drinking-water source since 1990. 1
  • In 2015, 91 percent of the world’s population had access to an improved drinking-water source. 1

a young boy drinks water from cupped hands

  • 4.2 billion people now enjoy the highest level of water access, a piped water connection at their homes; 2.4 billion people access water through other improved sources including public taps, protected wells and boreholes. 1
  • 663 million people worldwide rely on unimproved water sources, including 159 million dependent on surface water. 1
  • At least 10 percent of the world’s population is thought to consume food irrigated by waste water. 2
  • Two out of five people without access to an improved drinking water source live in Africa. 3
  • By 2025 water scarcity is expected to affect more than 1.8 billion people—hurting agricultural workers and poor farmers the most. 4
One of the ways we fight poverty is to provide access to clean water for sponsored children and their families. Compassion Water of Life is an in-home water filtration system that can filter more than 1 million gallons of water. That’s enough safe water for an entire family. For life.
How to Share the Importance of Clean Water With Children

A Rwandan girl dips a jerry can into stagnant water

These facts, ideas and special water challenges create opportunities for children to think about the water they drink.

Please use them to share the importance of clean water with the children in your life.

How do the UN Sustainable Development Goals relate to Compassion?

several children look outside through a window

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) directly parallel what Compassion does. But when it comes to goals and implementation we sometimes take a different approach. This is a quick analysis of the SDGs and how they most closely match our work, along with ways they overlap and differ.


1 World Health Organization Media Centre Fact sheet N°391. Drinking Water, July 2015.

2 World Health Organization Media Centre Fact sheet N°392. Sanitation, June 2015.

3 World Health Organization and UNICEF, 2014. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2014 Update.

4 UNDP. Human Development Report 2014. Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience.