The World Health Organisation (WHO), said with the World Water Day, celebration coming up on March 22, more than 650 million people, or one in 10 of the world’s population, do not have access to safe water.
It said in a statement on Wednesday in Geneva that this had put the affected at risk of infectious diseases and premature death.
WHO said this year’s celebration is focused on water and jobs and designed to highlight how water can create paid and decent work and contribute to a greener economy and sustainable development.
It warned that dirty water and poor sanitation can cause severe diarrhoea diseases in children.
It said the recent UN result indicated that diarrhoea disease, killed 900 children under-fives a day or one child every two minutes across the world.
WHO said among newborn babies, infections caused by a lack of safe water and an unclean environment cause one death every minute somewhere in the world.
It estimated that every 1 dollar invested in improving water supply and sanitation services yields gains of 4 to 12 dollars depending on the type of intervention.
Meanwhile, the UN said easy access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services was vital to human health.
It said was also important for other reasons, ranging from easily identifiable and quantifiable benefits such as cost and time savings, to more intangible factors like convenience, well-being, dignity, privacy and safety.