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Water and Sanitation

Despite significant progress over the last decade, over 700 million people are still without access to clean drinking water and a further 2.5 billion lack adequate sanitation. We are supporting programmes that increase access to safe, clean water and basic sanitation for poor communities.

Clean water and sanitation make a difference

Access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation is a precondition for health for success in the fight against poverty, hunger, child deaths and gender inequality.  

Despite this, almost 700 million people worldwide are without access to safe drinking water with more than 40% living in sub-Saharan Africa. A further 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation facilities.

Sanitation and hygienic practices are key to addressing chronic and acute hunger, and breaking a vicious cycle of diarrhoea, dehydration and nutrient loss.

The well-being of children is particularly dependent on both the quality, and availability, of water.  Improving sanitation and drinking water could reduce the number of children who die each year by 2.2 million. And it can have an enormous positive impact on good childhood nutrition and reduces the severity of childhood illness.

Our response

We are supporting programmes in our partner countries that provide access to clean water and sanitation and improve hygiene standards for poor communities. We also support a number of initiatives at global level. Our engagement is guided by our Water, Sanitation and Hygiene policy.

Improving sanitation and drinking water could reduce the number of children who die each year by 2.2 million.

Increasing access to water and sanitation in Zambia

For example, in Zambia, we have supported four rural districts in Northern Province to develop and implement plans that are benefitting almost  400,000 people, giving them access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

Community water and sanitation in Liberia

In Liberia, we are supporting communities in rural and urban areas to improve access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation through our partnership in a large national  water and sanitation programme with other donors and the government. 

Support for participatory approaches to sanitation

At global level, our support for the Community Led Total Sanitation Foundation (CLTS) has resulted in this innovative approach to sanitation being adopted in 42 countries. 

Support for UNICEF

We support the work of UNICEF in almost 90 countries to improve water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices.

Find out how much water you use every day

 Use this online calculator to work out your water consumption.