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We were first introduced to Food & Water Watch during an effort to maintain local control of the publicly owned water system in our area. We have continued to support the efforts of FWW as they lobby for the best interests of the people of this planet.
Jennifer Neylon

Water Facts


Restricted Access to Water

  • 780 million people live without clean drinking water
  • 2.5 billion people – inluding almost one billion children – live without basic sanitation
  • More than one-third of Africa’s population lacks access to safe drinking water
  • More than 130 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean lack access to safe drinking water
  • Between 15 and 20 percent of the water used worldwide is not for domestic consumption, but rather for export

Water and Disease

  • Every 20 seconds a child under five years of age dies from waterborne illnesses
  • Half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people with an easily preventable waterborne disease
  • 80 percent of all sickness and disease worldwide is related to contaminated water, according to the World Health Organization
  • Diarrhea killed more children in the last decade than all armed conflicts since the World War II
  • Dirty water kills more children than war, malaria, HIV/AIDS and traffic accidents combined
  • 75 percent of the people in Latin America and the Caribbean suffer from chronic dehydration because of poor water quality

Water Quality

  • 90 percent of wastewater produced in underdeveloped countries is discharged untreated into local waters
  • 80 percent of China’s major rivers are so degraded that they no longer support aquatic life
  • 90 percent of all groundwater systems under major cities in China are contaminated
  • 75 percent of India’s rivers and lakes are so polluted that they should not be used for drinking or bathing
  • 60 percent of rural Russians drink water from contaminated wells
  • 20 percent of all surface water in Europe is seriously threatened

Water Scarcity

  • More than 400 million Africans now live in water-scarce countries
  • Unless we change our ways, two-thirds of the world’s population will face water scarcity by 2025
  • Compared to today, five times as much land is likely to be under “extreme drought” by 2050
  • By 2030, nearly half of the world’s population – the majority living in underdeveloped countries – will be living in areas of high water stress
  • The percentage of the Earth’s land area stricken by serious drought more than doubled between the 1970s and 2005
  • Rapid melting will reduce the Tibetan glaciers by 50 percent every decade, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • More than two-thirds of Chinese cities face water shortages
  • 90 percent of the European alpine glaciers are in retreat

United States

Water Scarcity

  • 18 States are currently facing droughts, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor
  • 40 percent of all U.S. water withdrawals are for export
  • Unless measures are taken, California will demand three times more groundwater than can be supplied over the next 100 years
  • Florida‚ rapid use of groundwater has created thousands of sinkholes that devour anything, houses, cars and shopping malls, unfortunate enough to be built on top of them
  • The Western U.S. is facing its warmest decades in over 500 years
  • In 2007, Lake Superior, the world‚ largest freshwater lake, dropped to its lowest levels in 80 years and the water has receded more than 15 meters from the shoreline
  • Lake Mead, the vast reservoir of the Colorado River, has a 50 percent chance of running dry by 2021

Water Quality

  • 35 percent of U.S. rivers and streams are too dangerous for fishing, or drinking
  • 60 percent of U.S. lakes are too dangerous for swimming or drinking because of massive toxic runoff from industrial farms, intensive livestock operations and the more than 1 billion pounds of industrial weed killer used through the country each year
  • Two-thirds of U.S. estuaries and bays are moderately or severely degraded
  • Four and a half percent of beaches are closed or under advisory at a given time
  • 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution are carried by the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico every year