Facts and figures on water


Nadi watershed, Fiji

The bad news

  • 884 million people lack access to safe water supplies, that’s approximately one in eight people.
  • The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
  • Women spend 200 million hours a day collecting water.
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.
  • In Europe 37% of freshwater fish are threatened with extinction.

The good news

  • The Niger delta hosts about 20% of Mali’s population and generates on average 90,000 tonnes of fish catch per year.
  • Wetlands and their wildlife are a key part of the global tourism experience. Expenditure by tourists visiting wetlands is estimated at around US$ 925 billion each year.
  • Asia’s lower Mekong delta supports the world's most productive inland fisheries, providing 56 million people with up to 80% of their animal protein intake and valued at around US$ 3 billion per year.
  • Thirty three of the world’s 105 largest cities derive their drinking water from catchments within forest protected areas such as national parks and reserves.
  • In Sri Lanka the Muthurajawella protected area provides flood protection valued at over US$5 million/year.
  • Management of the Australian city of Melbourne’s forested catchments (almost half of which are protected areas) is being adapted in the face of climate change to minimise impacts on water supplies.
  • In India, eco-development programmes around Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan have combined conservation and famine relief funds to restore ancient step wells, providing new water supplies for communities, livestock and wildlife.
  • In the Hövsgöl National Park in northern Mongolia uncontrolled livestock grazing and fuel wood gathering have degraded the forests but herders have changed to rotational grazing and improved range management, helping protect Mongolia’s water resources and biodiversity.


Go to top