Water sanitation hygiene

A child trying to reach a tap
World Bank/Allison Kwesell © via Flickr under Creative Commons license

Water safety and quality are fundamental to human development and well-being. Providing access to safe water is one of the most effective instruments in promoting health and reducing poverty.

As the international authority on public health and water quality, WHO leads global efforts to prevent transmission of waterborne disease. This is achieved by promoting health-based regulations to governments and working with partners to promote effective risk management practices to water suppliers, communities and households.

Water safety and quality facts


The proportion of the global population using a safely managed drinking-water service

2 billion

The number of people worldwide that use a drinking-water source contaminated with faeces