Water and sanitation concerns are of great magnitude: 1.1 billion individuals, approximately 17 percent of the world’s population, are without improved water and more do not have access to safe drinking water, and 2.6 billion, approximately 41 percent, are without improved sanitation. Even worse, many of the world’s school children attend a school without water or toilets. Not surprisingly, 40 percent of the world’s school-age children have worm infections, predisposing them to cognitive and developmental problems. It is further estimated that 5,000 children die every day from diseases because of lack of safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene (WSSCC, 2004).
ITH Charities makes a concerted effort toward improving the standards for improved water and sanitation. Note that improved water is not necessarily safe drinking water. Improved water access includes household connections, public standpipes, rainwater collection, boreholes, and protected wells, but not water vendors, unprotected wells, unprotected springs, rivers or ponds, or tanker truck water. Improved sanitation includes connections to public sewers, septic systems, pour-flush and improved pit latrines, but not shared, traditional, or open pit latrines. Were we can, we work toward addressing both the sanitation and improved access to water supply.