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 as a consequence 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; ten of them are close to depleting their supply of renewable freshwater and must now rely on non-conventional sources. Increasing drought and desertification is already exacerbating these trends. By 2050, it is projected that at least one in four people are likely to be affected by recurring water shortages.
Ensuring universal access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030 requires 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.
Universal access to clean water and sanitation is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.