2 billion people have no access to safe drinking water
2 billion people have no access to safe drinking water.
Billions of people are of risk to various diseases due to unsafe drinking water By 2050, water demand will increase by 55 per cent mainly on industry use Drinking water concerns are driving the growth of bottled water [SYDNEY] While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mandate safe drinking water for all by 2030, currently 1.8 billion people get drinking water from contaminated sources, putting them at risk of contracting various diseases, according to UN Water, the UN coordinating agency.
But in Oceania, parts of Western Africa and in the Sahara region in Africa, less than three-quarters of the population uses an improved source with the figure below 50 per cent in Papua New Guinea, Angola and Equatorial Guinea.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa, 90 per cent of the diseases are water-borne,” András Szöllösi-Nagy, chair of the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme, tells SciDev.Net.
“If you invest one dollar into a public utility, whether it’s water supply or a sanitary facility, in the long run you gain four dollars (at the level of national savings),” he says.
With the global population set to reach nine billion, the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 report warns of further strain on freshwater availability.
Human consumption is only six per cent of total water consumption, the big user being agriculture, says Szollosi-Nagy, who is also the governor of the World Water Council.
“The world has plenty of water although we can’t evenly distribute it.” He compares Jordan’s 120 cubic metres per person, per year to Canada’s 112,000 cubic metres per person annually.
People in developing countries buy bottled water because “it is marketed as pure, clean and safe, something that is not readily available from a tap,” Gary Mortimer, associate professor at the Queensland University of Technology, tells SciDev.Net.
“Bottled water sales are expected to reach US$280 billion next year, with an average continued growth of over eight per cent at least till 2020.