Matt Damon: A million people a year die ‘completely needlessly’ from lack of clean water
"You have a million people dying a year, just completely needlessly, because they lack access to clean water," says Damon, speaking to CNBC on Thursday, the 25th annual World Water Day, which serves to call attention to the problem.
Further, 4.5 billion people around the world lack access to safely managed sanitation, according to the same report.
Around the world, many people have to walk long distances to find a water source and others have to wait in long lines and pay large percentages of their income to secure any water at all, explain Damon and Gary White, who, along with Damon, co-founded the non-profit organization Water.org and the non-profit impact investment fund manager WaterEquity.
"Today, 200 million hours will be spent by women and girls walking to collect water," says White, speaking to CNBC.
Less time getting water means more time for work, school, play, family and life.
To work to solve this crisis, Damon and White came together in 2009 to launch Water.org, a non-profit that works to provide access to clean drinking water in 13 countries around the world: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Asia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil, Honduras and Peru.
So if you could front them the money for a connection to the system that exists, you are buying their time back.
With small loans, women are empowered to give their families water at home.
"We take those funds and invest them in enterprises that serve the poor in terms of their water and sanitation needs," says White.
"The basic math on it is that every million that comes into the fund, over the seven-year life, 100,000 people get access to water or sanitation….