In the UN International Year of Fresh Water, it's been estimated that today more than a billion people do not have access to clean safe drinking water.
Zina Saro-Wiwa presents five life-preserving journeys to fetch water from around the world.Mother of three Maku Amano walks to the Awash river from her village in heart of Ethiopia.
This is the second year of drought for Maku and her family life is really tough.
Leaving at five thirty in the morning, Maku spends nine hours away from her daughter Medina, an under nourished two year old.
In today's programme she continues her journey to a small village just outside Dhaka in Bangladesh.
Because the water in the village is contaminated the six members of Hawlader family all have arsenic poisoning.
They now have to walk two kilometres to a river to collect their water.
This is back breaking work when you are fit but when you are suffering from arsenetosis it is crippling.
Maasai herdsman Sosoika Karanda and his wife Neshoo walk across the Rift Valley to water their cattle.
The livestock provide their only income, and the further they walk their animals, the less milk they can produce.
Having lost two children to malaria, they are acutely aware of the need to keep some money aside for hospital fees when the inevitable fever strikes in the rainy season.
India Zina continues her journey to Calcutta.
This city should have enough water for its ten million inhabitants, so why does Tapan and his family spend up to three hours a day walking to a tap and waiting in a queue for just enough to drink?
Josephine Nduku lives in Makuru Kwa Ruben, one of Nairobi's sprawling slums, a forgotten village tucked away behind the heavy industry at the edge of the city.
She is a single mother with nine children, the youngest of whom is just 21 days old.
Makuru has plenty of water - all of it contaminated by the open sewers and although Josephine lives near to the water tap, she struggles to find the enough money to pay the local entrepreneurs on whom she depends.