Global Challenge #6 – Clean Water and Sanitation
Access to clean water and safe sanitation are essential to human and to environmental health. Effective creation and management of freshwater systems are necessary to a sustainable environment and economic prosperity. For many in rural areas, fresh, clean water is the difference between a decent life, poverty, hunger, malnutrition and cleanliness.
- 844 Million people lack even a basic drinking-water system
- 159 million people are dependent on surface water as a source
- More than 2 billion people worldwide are living in areas with excess water stress, meaning the total freshwater withdrawn exceeds 25% of the renewable freshwater available.
- Northern Africa and Western Asia have water stress levels of over 60%, which indicates a strong possibility of scarcity in the future.
- By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water stressed areas.
- More than 40% of the global population faces water scarcity or future insecurity.
- Figure is expected to increase over the years due to climate change
- At least 2 billion people use a drinking water source that is contaminated with feces
- Contaminated water is estimated to cause over 500,000 deaths per year.
- Low and middle income countries reported that 38% of health care facilities lack an improved water source, 19% do not have improved sanitation and 35% lack water and soap for washing hands and body.
- 2.4 billion people live without access to safe and improved sanitation facilities such as toilets
- 892 million people defecate in the open such as street gutters, bushes or in open bodies of water
- At least 10% of the world’s population consumes food irrigated by potentially contaminated waste water
- Insufficient sanitation and hygiene is estimated to cause 280,000 deaths annually.
- Sub-Saharan Africa reported 15% of the population now has access to sanitation facilities. This is an all time high for the region.
Here are some innovations happening around the world to make water more accessible to all:
Mesh nets put high up in the mountains catch fog and moisture in the air. It is estimated that over 6,300 litres can be harvested a day. This simple yet useful innovation is currently in use throughout Peru, Chile, Morocco and California. In 2016, the non-profit responsible, Dar Si Hmad won the UN’s Momentum To Change Award.