clean water and sanitation
Access to water and sanitation are basic human rights and are critical sustainable development challenges. These challenges will only worsen and the impacts on people will only increase as competing demands for clean fresh water (agriculture, households, energy generation, industrial use, ecosystems) are exacerbated by the effects of climate change puts more pressure on water quality and availability. These conditions will create an increased risk for businesses, governments, communities and the environment.
Clean water is critical to survival, and its absence can impact the health, food security, and livelihoods of families across the world. Although our planet has sufficient fresh water to achieve a regular and clean water supply for all, bad economics and poor infrastructure can skew supply unfavourably. Drought afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries, worsening hunger and malnutrition. Floods and other water-related disasters account for 70% of all deaths related to natural disasters. Global goals and national priorities on reliable energy, economic growth, resilient infrastructure, sustainable industrialisation, consumption and production, and food security, are all inextricably linked to a sustainable supply of clean water. Hydropower is one of the most crucial and widely-used renewable sources of energy and as of 2011, represented 16% of total electricity production worldwide.
The Sustainable Development Goals have committed the international community to expand international cooperation and capacity building on water and sanitation-related activities and programmes, and also to support local communities in improving water and sanitation management. Through Goal 6, the countries of the world have resolved to achieve universal access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene to all in the next fifteen years.