Clean Water, Safe Water: WaterAid Deals With Global Access Issues

Three-fourths of the Earth is covered by water, so why are millions dealing with clean water issues around the world?

clean water
Water is the essence of life, yet so many don’t have a clean version of it.

Today I worked with my 9 year old on his science homework. For an upcoming test, he has to identify the resources that living things share in an environment.

The sentence that struck me, reminding me of many Development policy discussions in grad school, was “Many living things may share an environment and its resources. If the environment has too little of any resource, the living things compete with one another to get what they need.” In other words, there’s conflict. Water was the first resource that I thought of.

Coincidentally, I had this post on my writing list and will be turning it into a broader teaching moment for my son. His science book looks at animals but I will generalize it for him, to illustrate what limited resources like clean water can do to people. Ironically, when I make this decision, a faucet in my kitchen drips quietly and consistently. Feeling guilty, I tighten the handle to stop the waste.


800 million people worldwide do not have access to clean, safe water, while 2.5 billion don’t have the types of sanitary environments we enjoy. That’s a lot of people. This results in:

  • 2,000 children dying every day from easily preventable diarrheal diseases because they don’t have safe or clean water.
  • Thousands more children not being able to attend school.
  • Millions of women unable to work because of the time it takes to collect water and care for sick children.
  • Wasted human capital, which has a direct affect on economic growth, development, and sustainability.


Since 1981, WaterAid, has been transforming lives through its clean water, safe water programs in 27 countries throughout Africa, Asia, The Pacific, and Central America. The organization, through its offices in the U.S., UK, Australia, and Sweden, uses affordable and locally appropriate solutions to provide safe water, effective sanitation, and hygiene education to people in developing countries.

What To Do

As with any of these organizations, a donation goes a long way to furthering their efforts. And with WaterAid, 81% of donations goes to water programs. Something as small as a $25 gift could pay for one person in one of the world’s poorest countries to gain access to safe, clean water, and sanitation for life. You can also write to your local congressman/congresswoman to support the Paul Simon Water for the World Act. Wouldn’t it be great if our utility companies could be more altruistic and take a share of our bills and donate it for us? Hey, that’s an idea – what do you think?

This post was written in conjunction with WaterAid as a member of Social Good Moms’ Global Team of 200.


  1. K Miller says

    This article is so timely. Every winter I tend to take our lifestyle for granted as I complain about everything I miss about warmer temperatures. And of course I forget about those in our world who are struggling to have access to the basic necessities. I shudder to think about how different my life would be if I had to worry about clean water daily. Thank you for this article and a reason to look beyond my petty discomforts and reach out to those in our global community with real problems. I plan to donate money and share this article with others.

    • worldtravelmom says

      You are most welcome. I too need these reminders and when I get them, it makes me more appreciative of all that I have. To think that someone doesn’t have clean, safe drinkable/batheable water at their disposal is something that we can’t even fathom. It’s so easily accessible that it’s a wonder that we can’t translate the systems and technologies here to other parts of the world with no problem. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. says

    This article brings up a question I have about drinking water and traveling abroad. What do we do in regards to drinking water in certain countries? For example, when I was 21 I went to Mexico and drank bottled water while there but I totally forgot about ice and of course the drinks or punches they make you on the short cruises. So I got sick. Can we only drink beer or cokes from a can when we travel to certain countries?! Are there any countries you strongly recommend avoiding the water when we travel there?

  3. Lu says

    This is so on point right now. I am participating in a campaign this month to bring awareness to the needs of fresh water. It is so critical we support those who do not have it. It affects us all.

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