- The water cycle is a closed system. All of the water on earth today existed when the planet was first formed. Within this cycle, water is constantly changing forms. At any given time, only about 3% is freshwater.
- Without food, a person can live for weeks. Without water, a person can only live three days.
- The recommended daily water requirement (for drinking, washing, cooking and sanitation) is about 13 gallons per person per day. Americans use up to 150 gallons per day; people in developing countries have trouble finding five gallons.
- Demand for water has increased exponentially with population growth. Over the past century the world’s population has quadrupled, and water use has increased nine-fold. There are currently 6.8 billion people on the planet; by 2050, there will be over 9 billion.
- Currently, 1.1 billion people lack reliable and consistent access to safe water for basic household consumption, and 2.6 billion lack water for adequate sanitation.
- Disease resulting from the lack of clean water and sanitation claims over 3 million lives every year; nearly 2 million of these are children, roughly one every 15 seconds. Ninety-eight percent of these deaths occur in the developing world; 80% would be preventable if access to clean water were secured.
- Women and girls in developing countries spend an average of six hours per day collecting and carrying water. They usually collect the water by foot, sometimes for a distance of miles. Water weighs eight pounds per gallon.
- Water is a $400 billion global industry, the third largest behind electricity and oil. Fifteen percent of the people in the world who have access to water get it through private companies.
- Agriculture takes the lion’s share of the world’s fresh water – 70% globally and up to 90% in some countries. Industry is the next thirstiest sector, including the water that is required to produce energy of all kinds.
- Two hundred and sixty-three river basins and countless aquifers cross the political boundaries of two or more countries. These trans-boundary water systems cover half the world’s surface and cross the territories of 145 countries.
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