Water and Sanitation

Saru Saud, 7, drinks water from her cupped hands, at a community water point in impoverished Biraltoli Village in Achham District in Far-Western Region in Nepal.

Safe water saves lives.

Water is life. But when water is unsafe and sanitation non-existent, water can kill. Children under age 5 are, on average, 20 times more likely to die from diarrheal diseases associated with poor water, sanitation and hygiene than from violence in conflict.

UNICEF works in more than 100 countries to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities. Whether by delivering safe water after a disaster or promoting safe hygiene practices in schools and communities, UNICEF is on the ground helping children in need.


Lucilda, 6, can access safe water from a tap outside her home in the mountains of Bolivia, thanks to the success of community water projects supported by UNICEF with help from local partners. © UNICEF/UNI189335/Gilbertson

Since 1990, with the help of UNICEF and its partners, some 2.6 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water. Yet climate change threatens to undo much of this progress. By 2040, 1 in 4 children — 600 million children — will live in areas of extremely high water stress. The poorest, most disadvantaged children will suffer the most.

Fast Fact