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One eighth of the world's population lacks access to safe drinking water (United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF], 2008). Millions die every year from waterborne (bacteria-contaminated water) and waterwashed (insufficient water for washing and personal hygiene) related diseases (Prüss-Üstün et al., 2008). Diarrhea alone, a life-threatening symptom of a number of waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, and bacillary dysentery, kills 1.5 million people every year - most of them children under the age of five (Prüss-Üstün et al., 2008). Malnourished children are at greater risk.Access to clean water is a key factor in reducing poverty, improving health and achieving sustainable development. Freeing women and young girls from the back-breaking work of travelling long distances to collect water contributes to achieving gender equity and improves economic possibilities for families, as women have more time for income-generating activities, and young girls can attend school (Watkins et al., 2006). Improved health from contamination-free water not only promises a better quality of life, but eases pressure on heathcare systems, and can drastically reduce the number of work days missed from ill health. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reports that overall economic losses in Africa connected to a lack of access to safe water and basic sanitation is an estimated $28.4 billion a year (2009).
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