Definitions for the global water crisis

Basic access to safe water: Drinking water from an improved source that takes 30 minutes or less (round trip) to procure

Borehole: A deep, narrow, machine-dug hole in the ground to locate water

Clean water: Visibly clear to the naked eye

Improved water source: A source that is likely to be protected from outside contamination

JMP – (While we did not include this term in our story, some of the experts mentioned it, and it’s a source of great information.) The Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) is the combined work of the World Health Organization and UNICEF, which monitor progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #6: safe water, sanitation, and hygiene. Learn how they measure drinking-water quality, handwashing, and sanitation using ladders from worst to best quality.

Safe water: Water that is improved, free of contaminants

Safely managed water: Drinking water from an improved water source accessible on premises, available when needed, and free from fecal and chemical contamination

WASH: An acronym that stands for water, sanitation, and hygiene

  • Water – access to drinking water
  • Sanitation – toilets and safe waste management
  • Hygiene – hand-washing facilities

Water point: A single source of water, which may be a well, a borehole, or a tap