United Methodist Committee on Relief

Water and Sanitation

Water is essential. It is used not only for drinking but for bathing, cooking, cleaning, waste disposal, and agriculture. Yet, 884 million people around the world do not have adequate access to it. In developing countries, even when water is accessible, it may not be clean. Because of this, 5,000 children a day die from waterborne diseases. What’s more, 2.5 billion people around the world lack basic sanitation.

UMCOR’s Water and Sanitation program is helping vulnerable communities gain better access to clean water by locating safe water sources, educating communities, and improving sanitation.

Clean Water

UMCOR helps communities rehabilitate existing water infrastructure or build wells from scratch. Locating reliable water sources can take months or even years. Once a source is determined, we distribute household water filtration units and provide training on their proper use and maintenance. UMCOR-supported water and sanitation projects in a dozen countries are helping thousands of people access safe water to meet their day-to-day needs.


Forming a Community Development Committee (CDC) is just as important as digging a well in a place where water is scarce. Through CDCs, UMCOR helps communities take ownership of their water systems and build strategies and solutions around their long-term water supply. We also teach community members how to maintain their water systems and care for them over time. And we also focus education efforts on the development of good hygiene practices.


About 80 percent of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. In developing countries, diarrhea kills 2.2 million people each year. UMCOR builds latrines and hand-washing stations so that people can live healthier lives. We always couple these efforts with education about how to prevent the spread of disease.

Support this work with your gift to Water and Sanitation, Advance #3020600.

Water and Sanitation infographic from April 2, 2014 Hotline.
Click to enlarge infographic.

Sanitation & Hygiene News

Together, We “CAN” Change the World!
From waste to clean water: a Colorado church responds to the worldwide water crisis.
Help for Recovery after South Asia Floods
UMCOR and partners meet food and hygiene needs after South Asia’s worst monsoon caused devastating floods and landslides.
Global Hand Washing Day in Haiti
Partnership was a central theme of the day, which promotes health and hygiene through hand washing.
Handwashing with Soap: Do-it-yourself Vaccine
Global Handwashing Day celebrates the simple action that has big consequences for fighting disease and infection.
Clean Water for Potosí
UMCOR partner Engineers in Action is helping to clean up polluted and toxic rivers in Bolivia.
More Water, Less Hunger
UMCOR addresses the root causes of hunger by supporting farmers.
In Sudan: Water is life
Despite challenges that range from armed conflict to funding needs, UMCOR is helping to provide clean water in East Darfur State.
World Water Day is March 22
Access to clean water is a major concern in our world, and the church is playing its part in this global social issue.
El Porvenir: Clean Water, Healthy Nicaraguans
Together with partners like El Porvenir, UMCOR promotes access to safe water for impoverished communities.
Help UMCOR Respond to the Cholera Outbreak in North Katanga, DRC
UMCOR needs your help to respond to this outbreak and help prevent it from happening again.
Global Health


Granting Partners