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Today, 785 million people do not have direct access to drinking water. They spend more than half an hour to get drinking water, or drink water from rivers, lakes, canals or other unsafe sources.
Access to drinking water is recognised as a human right by the United Nations. And SDG 6 - the UN's Sustainable Development Goal on water and sanitation - aims for water for all by 2030. Join For Water and its local partners have been providing sustainable water solutions for tens of thousands of people every year, for over 40 years!
Water is time
Imagine being on the road for 3 hours a day to get water for your household. You have to, because without water you can't prepare food, you can't wash yourself, you can't clean your house. You could spend your time in a much more useful way. Millions of women and children spend hours every day getting water. Children carry heavy water bottles instead of going to school; women don't have time to take care of their families or earn an income. Moreover, the water they bring home is often not drinkable. Every year, 300,000 children under the age of five die from diarrhoea due to a lack of clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.
Tackling poverty at its source
Investing in drinking water supplies pays off. Lives are saved, health costs are reduced and a country's productivity increases. By providing everyone with drinking water, poverty is tackled at the source. Having a water point nearby frees up time to go to work or to school.
Unfortunately, the challenges are considerable: too little political will, too little investment, rapid population growth and the fact that the local authorities in the South do not have sufficient resources and know-how to organise the water supply... These are all factors that severely hamper human and economic development.