80% of diseases in the developing world is caused by lack of access to clean drinking water. With lack of clean water, people end up drinking contaminated water from stagnant ponds, sand dug wells, rivers that humans and animals defecate in. Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
In Africa alone, women spend more that 40 billion hours collecting water. On average, women and young girls spend 5-6 hours fetching water. With no clean source water nearby, they walk close to 3 miles walking to collect dirty water. With all that time spent collecting water, there is no time left to do productive things that can help improve their lives and communities.
More time spent collecting water means less time children can spend in school learning. Because of drinking unsafe, contaminated water, children are usually forced to miss school because they are home sick from illnesses such as malaria, typhoid, dysentery, measles, etc. Also, because of no nearby sources of clean water in school and nowhere to clean up, girls stay home during their menstruation cycle because of shame.
A child dies every 20 seconds from illnesses resulting from drinking contaminated water. The world bank estimates that more children under the age of 5 are killed from water related illness, more than deaths from HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined.