Malik and Friends

Water Conservation and Sanitation

Facts about Water Conservation and Sanitation1


  • Although water covers 71% of the Earth's surface, less than 3% of that is freshwater that humans, plants and animal species can use and consume; therefore, it must be carefully managed and protected to avoid irreparable depletion of the resource.
  • Most regions in the world have at least 87% water coverage; however, water coverage is only 54% in Oceania and 61% in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • 2.5 billion people live without access to improved sanitation—including over 1 billion who have no facilities at all, and are forced to engage in the hazardous and demeaning practice of open defecation.
  • Sanitation coverage is lowest in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where 70% and 59% of people do not have access to improved sanitation respectively.
  • The lack of adequate drinking-water and/or sanitation facilities, coupled with poor hygiene, imposes an extremely high disease burden on millions of children and adults through schistosomiasis, intestinal worms, hepatitis, typhoid and other diseases.

1 UNICEF website.   

  WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation website.