Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

 

Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of people around the world, an alarming figure that is projected to increase with the rise of global temperatures because of climate change. Although 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved water sanitation since 1990, dwindling supplies of safe drinking water is a major problem impacting every continent.

In 2011, 41 countries experienced water stress – 10 of which are close to depleting their supply of renewable freshwater and must now rely on alternative sources. Increasing drought and desertification is already worsening these trends. By 2050, it is projected that at least one in four people will be affected by recurring water shortages.

This is particularly important for the Arab region, the world’s most water insecure region and hosting 14 of the world’s 20 most water-stressed countries. The average person has access to only about 12% the renewable water levels of an average global citizen. Meanwhile, more than half of all water originates from outside the region itself, making the Arab region the most dependent on external sources. Water insecurity has also grown due to the escalation of conflicts in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. In Syria, for example, 70 percent of the Syrian population is without regular access to safe drinking water because of water cuts and destruction of basic infrastructure.

Ensuring universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 requires that we invest in adequate infrastructure, provide sanitation facilities, and encourage hygiene at every level. Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems such as forests, mountains, wetlands and rivers is essential if we are to mitigate water scarcity. More international cooperation is also needed to encourage water efficiency and support treatment technologies in developing countries

Facts and figures

5.2 billion

71 percent of the global population, 5.2 billion people, had safely-managed drinking water in 2015, but 844 million people still lacked even basic drinking water.

2.9 billion

39 percent of the global population, 2.9 billion people, had safe sanitation in 2015, but 2.3 billion people still lacked basic sanitation. 892 million people practiced open defecation.

80%

80 percent of wastewater goes into waterways without adequate treatment.

2 billion

Water stress affects more than 2 billion people, with this figure projected to increase.

80%

80 percent of countries have laid the foundations for integrated water resources management.

70%

The world has lost 70 percent of its natural wetlands over the last century.

  • By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all

  • By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations

  • By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally

  • By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity

  • By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate

  • By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

  • By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies

  • Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management
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