The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that improving water, sanitation and hygiene could prevent at least 9.1% of the global burden of disease and 6.3% of all deaths. Providing safe, reliable, piped-in water to every household is an essential goal, yielding optimal health gains while contributing to the targets for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for poverty reduction, nutrition, childhood survival, school attendance, gender equity and environmental sustainability.
World Health Organization - WHO
Access to safe drinking-water is important as a health and development issue at national, regional and local levels. It has been shown that investments in water supply and sanitation can yield a net economic benefit, as the reductions in adverse health effects and health-care costs outweigh the costs of undertaking the interventions.
Safe water supply in emergencies and the need for an exit strategy to sustain health gains: lessons learned from the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan
The bacteriological quality of drinking-water supply of five major urban centres affected by the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan were assessed in three phases: onset of emergency, during emergency response and post-emergency. A total of 1850 samples were randomly collected from the study area during each phase, and faecal coliforms were detected in 100%, 28% and 91% in Battagram, 81%, 22% and 77% in Mansehra, 100%, 27% and 92% in Rawalakot, 100%, 23% and 65% in Bagh and in 30%, 14% and 5% in Muzaffarabad respectively.
Guidance on communication with respect to safe drinking water and household hygiene Literature review, interviews and case studies
This document contains three sources of information: a literature review, a set of interviews with key informants, and a set of case studies. The focus of this document is on situations where long-term or chronic problems of inadequate access to safe water/sanitation, coupled with poor hygiene practices, expose people to health risks. It also focuses on situations where a water pollution incident gives rise to the risk of adverse health impacts on the population.