“Access to safe, affordable and reliable drinking water and sanitation services are basic human rights”

-- 2019 UN World Development Report

Clean water IS a human right yet millions of men, women and children across the globe do not have access to a clean, safe water source. Many governments in developing countries fail to ensure their citizens are provided with this basic necessity. Poverty and disenfranchisement, particularly in rural areas, disallow for individuals and families to secure this fundamental need. A lack of clean water in turn contributes to poor health and economic disparities of entire villages.

  • 785 million people lack even a basic drinking-water service, including 144 million people who are dependent on surface water.

  • Clean, safe water has been shown to lead to improved health, poverty reduction and socio- economic development

  • Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with feces. Contaminated water can transmit diseases such diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio.

  • Almost half of people drinking water from unprotected sources live in Sub-Saharan Africa.


According to the 2019 UN World Development Report "Water infrastructure remains extremely sparse in poor rural areas, so that millions of rural women, men and children are not covered by water and sanitation services. Moreover, the institutional capacity, including domestic resource mobilization and budget allocations — both at national and subnational levels — has been insufficient to cater for maintenance needs of the installed water infrastructure."

Many families and communities rely solely on unprotected water sources sometimes referred to as unimproved water sources. These water sources are full of parasites, bacteria, feces and other disease causing contaminants.


Unimproved drinking water sources include:


  • Unprotected dug well

  • Unprotected spring

  • Surface water (river, dam, lake, pond, stream, canal, irrigation channel)

  • Vendor-provided water (cart with small tank/drum, tanker truck)

  • Bottled water*

  • Tanker truck water

* Bottled water is not considered improved due to limitations in the potential quantity, not quality, of the water.










Well Wishers International 2019