Water for the World: Solving the World's Most Pressing Environmental Health Problem

Fact Sheet
March 21, 2012

For the nearly one billion people who don't have access to it, clean water is the world's most pressing problem. Lack of safe drinking water and sanitation is the single largest cause of illness in the world, contributing to the deaths of 2 million people a year, the majority of which are children. The solutions to this global public health crisis are well-known and cost-effective, yet more than 780 million people are without clean drinking water, and approximately 2.5 billion lack adequate sanitation.2 In 2005, recognizing the urgency of the crisis, the United States passed the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act, landmark legislation designed to address the need for global affordable and equitable access to safe water and sanitation.