Water may be a fundamental human need. Everyone on Earth requires a minimum of 20 to 50 liters of unpolluted, safe water each day for drinking, cooking, and easily keeping themselves clean.
Polluted water isn’t just dirty—it’s deadly. Some 1.8 million people die per annum of diarrheal diseases like cholera. Tens of many others are seriously sickened by a number of water-related ailments—many of which are easily preventable.
The United Nations considers universal access to wash water a basic right, and an important step towards improving living standards worldwide. Water-poor communities are typically economically poor also, their residents trapped in an ongoing cycle of poverty.
Education suffers when sick children miss school. Economic opportunities are routinely lost to the impacts of rampant illness and therefore the time-consuming processes of acquiring water where it's not readily available. Children and ladies bear the brunt of those burdens.
Water is clearly essential for hydration and for food production—but sanitation is an equally important, and complementary, use of water. A scarcity of proper sanitation services not only breeds disease, it can rob people of their basic human dignity.