Just imagine, despite being a transparent, tasteless, odorless, and almost colorless chemical substance, water is vital for all forms of life. 

What makes water the most useful for our survival? What are the problems that we face due to it? Here, you will learn ten complications faced by the students or teachers in the school. 

The famous Author H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry revealed that the brain and heart contain 73% water, and the lungs are roughly 83 % water. Water is found in 64% of the skins, 79% of the muscles and kidneys, and even 31% of the bones.

Depending on one’s age and gender and where they live, humans require a specific amount of water to survive each day. An adult male requires approximately 3 liters of water per day, while an adult female requires approximately 2.2 liters per day. 

Some of the water a person requires is found in our food, so it does not come from drinking liquids.

Schools, particularly in rural regions, sometimes lack drinking water, sanitation, and handwashing facilities; alternatively, they are frequently insufficient in both quality and quantity when such facilities are available.

Poor water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions in schools and high amounts with one contact are high-risk environments for both students and staff, enhancing children’s sensitivity to environmental health hazards.

Table of Contents

1. Water scarcity

UNICEF-supported water trucking helps revive education
UNICEF-supported water trucking helps revive education | Image Credit – Flickr

Major problems faced in rural areas and deserts are water scarcity. It may be due to the overuse of water, pollution, drought, distance, or even lack of governmental access. Since school is a public place, this results in the unavailability of water to all the students. 

As we know, for sustainable development, access to schools is entirely essential. Due to water scarcity, many problems will be created towards educational goals.

2. Lack of freshwater

Lack Of Clean Water In Africa Rural Schools | Video Credit – BK Futbal7

Even though the water is present, it may not be desired. It may be stale. Which in return may cause different types of waterborne diseases. 

Students’ academic performance and attendance rates are negatively affected by a lack of freshwater. Even the best students can endure stomach aches and diarrhea due to sickness and hunger if they don’t have access to clean water. Classes are canceled for all students when teachers are sick.

3. Risk of disease transmission

How teachers can talk to children about disease transmission
How teachers can talk to children about disease transmission | Image Credit – UNICEF

As the supply of water in school is accessed by all the students, sometimes a sick student may transmit infectious disease to other students via the medium on the drinking water.

Diseases like cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and Polio may be linked to contaminated water and poor sanitation.

UNICEF 2012 revealed that diarrhea could be the primary cause of child mortality. Students may be exposed to preventable health risks due to insufficient or poorly managed water and sanitation facilities.

4. Harmful pollutants 

Harmful pollutants
Harmful pollutants | Image Credit – Pixabay

In carelessness, if the drinking water container is exposed, the dust or other harmful material may settle in the drinking water, which may give students health problems.

Several diseases are caused by contaminated water, like diarrhea, killing almost 1000 children every day. Also, results decrease of school attendees.  

5. Particulate matter

Student spend most of their time in a classroom
Student spend most of their time in a classroom | Image Credit – Flickr

The school classroom, where children spend a significant portion of their day, is as one of the most critical microenvironments where PM2.5 exposure with relevance to health may occur.

Children spend more than 6 hours every day in school and have higher asthma morbidity from school environmental exposures.

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) sources and components vary by the microenvironments children live, learn and play.

6. Water insecurity  

Clean water is still a significant issue, particularly in developing countries.

One of the most significant risks to humanity in the twenty-first century is a lack of sufficient for a healthy and productive life and safe drinking water.

Another reason why girls in rural, water-scarce regions may not attend school is menstruation. This problem is altered by access to water and sanitation.

7. Gender discrimination

Inadequate school water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions are likely to affect girls and boys differently, especially those with disabilities, and this may contribute to unequal learning opportunities. Lack of appropriate, separate, private, and secure bathrooms and washing facilities, for example, may discourage parents from sending their daughters to school.

Furthermore, a lack of proper facilities for menstrual hygiene can cause girls to miss days at school, which can even lead to girls dropping out of school entirely at puberty.

8. Unhealthy student habits

Unhealthy drinking habits
Unhealthy drinking habits | Image Credit – Flickr

Students go through various changes, such as mental, biological, psychological, and physiological changes. Those changes influence their health. A recent study in America revealed that many students often consume sweet drinks.

Additionally, sweet drinks such as boba drink and milk tea are famous in Asia and contain high sugar. Many students at school use drink instead of drinking more water, which causes kidney failure at a young age.

Drinking less than 2% of one’s body weight in water might produce mood swings, tiredness, decreased stamina and consciousness. Students’ concentration will be affected if they do not consume mineral water.

9. Contamination

Lead contamination in school | Video Credit – Water Nerd TV

Most schools contain lead in their pipes, plumbing, or fixtures, and there is a risk of contamination where there is lead. Lead has polluted the drinking water of a whole city, exposing almost 8,000 children under six.

Children may be exposed to waterborne or water-based poisons at their respective schools. This exposure could be linked to previous regulations that public schools provide free drinking water around lunchtime.

Regular disinfection of water (and plumbing systems) carried into or within school-based water transportation systems also impacts the development of microbiological contamination. The plumbing in schools is also a potential source of environmental contamination.

Many schools are unaware that plumbing can impact the quality of their drinking water. During the construction of the school, lead pipes and fixtures are used. Lead can leak into the water if water comes into touch with lead-lined plumbing.

Even though the water entering the school follows all drinking water requirements, this can result in higher lead contents in the drinking water. Higher amounts of lead in the bloodstream can harm students’ brains.

10. Excessive leakage

Water back on at Bowie High School after another water leak | Video Credit – KXAN

The water should be stored in a safe place. Sometimes due to negligence or some accident, the water container or the plumbing may be at fault, which may cause the leakage of the water.

School areas may not be an issue in a place with adequate water, but in rural areas where drinking water is scarce, this may cause serious problems, mainly in a public place like a school.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), access to safe drinking water can provide measurable health benefits.

The first target of the United Nations General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) is access to clean and adequate drinking water for all Human beings, adopted in 2015.

Everyone is affected by poor drinking water quality, but students are highly susceptible.

A study in Vietnam found that maintaining water storage facilities at schools, which can be a source of microbial contamination, is critical for the primary prevention of water-related diseases.

Also, to maintain the level of microbiological and chemical pollution of drinking water in schools under control, schools should implement a regular treatment procedure and monitoring system.

(Last Updated on April 4, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Ranjana Regmi is a highly energetic and responsible graduate with a master’s degree in Environment Science. She has a sound academic and professional record of exploring the world of climate change and its dynamics related to vegetation and wildlife. She has developed analytical skills during a few years of work exposure and scientific coherence. She is undoubtedly a bright star for ecosystem preservation with an immense empathy towards biodiversity.