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Inadequate Distribution Systems

More than a billion people lack access to clean water, and four out of every five live in the rural areas of the developing world. Rural dwellers are geographically dispersed, and typically live beyond the reach of modern water distribution systems. They often rely on natural sources of water and may have to travel great distances each day to acquire water that is safe to drink.

The arduous task of fetching water deprives many women and children of educational and economic opportunities that could help them to escape the cycle of poverty in which they live.

Distribution systems also fail those living in the slums of the developing world’s rapidly growing cities. Sprawling shantytowns exist beyond the reach of city water systems, leaving the urban poor to acquire their own water from private sources—often at exorbitantly high prices.

Where there is infrastructure to distribute water, it is often aging, poorly maintained, and susceptible to main breaks and leaks. If distribution systems are damaged, water can be recontaminated with waterborne disease organisms.

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