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Water and Human Health

Domestic Water Supply

  1. S. M. A Adelana

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.dw34

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Adelana, S. M. A. 2005. Water and Human Health. Water Encyclopedia. 1:19–30.

Author Information

  1. University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005


Water is essential for life and health and has both cultural and religious significance. Water plays a vital role in transmitting infectious diseases, and 80% of diseases reported are directly or indirectly water-related. Scarce and unclean water supplies are critical public health problems in many parts of the world. These have been identified as leading factors that will limit economic development in the near future. Based on projected population growth, the amount of water available for use per person per year is expected to drop annually.

Apart from the pressure of population growth on water resources, the supply of freshwater available to humanity is shrinking, in effect, because of increasing pollution. On the whole both water scarcity and water pollution pose serious health problems. Unclean water is by far the largest environmental killer around the world. Water shortages, polluted water, and unsanitary living conditions claim millions of lives annually via various water-related diseases. About 60% of all infant mortality is linked to infectious and parasitic diseases most are waterrelated, and a large percentage of these diseases is attributable to inadequate water supply and sanitation.


  • water scarcity;
  • water stress;
  • health risks;
  • drinking water;
  • sanitation services;
  • water-related diseases