Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville has been named an ambassador for charity WaterAid and will sit as a judge for the organisation's inaugural short film competition.

The British actor has thrown his support behind the charity, which works to secure clean water and improve sanitation and hygiene in developing countries.

Bonneville will join a panel of acclaimed filmmakers to judge the 'sH2Orts' short film competition, which encourages participants to make a video to show what water means to them.

A number of entries will be posted online and Bonneville and his fellow judges will decide on the overall five winners, who will be announced on World Water Day on 22 March (15).

In a statement, Bonneville says, "I'm proud to become a WaterAid Ambassador and to support the charity's first ever sH2Orts film competition. Most of us take water for granted; yet one in ten people around the world have no choice but to drink water from unsafe sources. Every day, 1,400 children die from diseases caused by dirty water and inadequate sanitation - that's a shocking statistic. WaterAid's work is essential if we are to tackle this global problem.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the range of films illustrating this vital resource in its many forms. Our hope is that these films will encourage people to think about how they might help make a difference, particularly in parts of the world where the provision of water isn't as simple as turning on a tap."

Chloe Bayram, from WaterAid, said, "We're thrilled to have Hugh Bonneville's support in raising awareness of the global water and

sanitation crisis."