Water flows through and connects the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.) And tackling the water and sanitation crises is one of the most urgent issues for the global community to address.
It is a crisis of ‘too much’, ‘too polluted’ and ‘too little’. ‘Too much’ because the devastating impacts of floods, exacerbated by climate change, is hitting poor people first and worst. ‘Too polluted’ because so much wastewater does not get collected or treated. And ‘too little’ because across the world today 2.1 billion people lack reliable access to safely managed drinking water services and 4.5 billion lack safely managed sanitation services. All the while, water scarcity could cost some regions up to 6% of their GDP, spur migration and, in the extreme, spark civil conflict. Climate change is expected to increase this risk, in addition to placing greater stress on water supplies.
Water is at the center of economic and social development: it is vital to maintain health, grow food, generate energy, manage the environment, and create jobs. Water availability and management impacts whether poor girls are educated, whether cities are healthy places to live, and whether growing industries or poor villages can withstand the impacts of floods or droughts.
Of the 2.1 billion people who do not have access to safely managed water, 844 million do not have even a basic drinking water service. Of the 4.5 billion people who do not have safely managed sanitation, 2.3 billion still do not have basic sanitation services. As a result, every year, 361,000 children under 5 years of age die due to diarrhea related to poor sanitation and contaminated water, which are also linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid. Water supply and sanitation is just one aspect of the broader water agenda.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) build on the success of the last 15 years, while challenging donors and governments to address issues of water quality and scarcity to balance the needs of households, agriculture, industry, energy, and the environment over the next 15 years.
Water security is among the top global risks in terms of development impact. It is also an integral part to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The world will not be able to meet the sustainable development challenges of the 21st century — human development, livable cities, climate change, food security, and energy security — without improving management of water resources and ensuring access to reliable water and sanitation services.
Water security remains a challenge for many countries today coping with complex water issues that cut across sectors. Population and economic growth have placed unprecedented pressures on water.
· Water-related hazards, including floods, storms, and droughts, are responsible for 9 out of 10 natural disasters.
· Estimates show that with current population growth and water management practices, the world will face a 40% shortfall between forecast demand and available supply of water by 2030.
· Today, 70% of global water withdrawals are for agriculture. Feeding 9 billion people by 2050 will require a 60% increase in agricultural production and a 15% increase in water withdrawals.
· The world will need more water for energy generation but already today, over 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity.
· More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas and the number is growing fast.
· Groundwater is being depleted at a rate faster than it is being replenished. By 2025, about 1.8 billion people will be living in regions or countries with absolute water scarcity.
The combined effects of growing populations, rising incomes, and expanding cities will see demand for water rising exponentially, while supply becomes more erratic and uncertain.
Last Updated: Oct 04, 2018