More than 1 billion people still use unsafe sources of drinking water...
Water supply, distribution of unserved populations(total unserved: 1.1 billion)
- to ensure our basic needs, we all need 20 to 50 litres of water free from harmful contaminants each and every day;
- clean water contributes to better health. Lack of clean water and basic sanitation is the main reason diseases transmitted by feces are so common in developing countries. In 1990 diarrhea led to 3 million deaths, 85% of them among children. Between 1990 and 2002 about 400 million people obtained access to improved water sources, gains just sufficient to keep pace with population growth.
- an ‘improved water source’ is any form of water collection or piping used to make water regularly available. It is not the same as ‘safe water’, but there is no practical measure of whether water supplies are safe. Connecting all households to a reliable source of water that is reasonably protected from contamination would be an important step toward improving health and reducing the time spent collecting water;
- meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) will require providing about 1.5 billion people with access to safe water and 2 billion with access to basic sanitation facilities between 2000 and 2015; (1)
- more people have access to safe water compared to 10 years ago. But, in 2002, 1.1billion people still lacked access to an improved water source, 42% of them in Sun-Saharan Africa and 22% in East Asia and Pacific;
- according to the “Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report” carried out by WHO and UNICEF, Africa has the lowest total water supply coverage of any region, with only 62% of the population having access to improved water supply. The situation is much worse in rural areas, where coverage is only 47%, compared with 85% coverage in urban areas. In global terms, in 2000, the continent contained 28% of the world's population without access to improved water supply; (2)
- according to the Assessment 2000, total water coverage in Asia is the second lowest, after Africa, at 81%. But again, water supply coverage is lower in rural areas (75%) compared with that in urban areas (93%). In Oceania, 88% of the population has access to improved water supply; (3)
- Latin America & Caribbean has relatively high service levels: 93% of the urban population enjoys coverage, while only 62% of the rural population is covered. Total water coverage is approximately 85% of the population; (4)
- data for Europe are either incomplete or not reliable, however it has been estimated that those without access to improved water supply represent 2% of the global population (or 14,56 million people);
- in North America, there is a negligible proportion of the global population without access to improved water supply and sanitation services. More than 3 out of 4 people in the region live in urban areas. Urban coverage of water and sanitation are both reported to be 100% of the population. Nevertheless, approximately 71,000 people in rural areas do not have access to either improved water supply or sanitation;
- according to the World Bank, in 2002, in Sub-Saharan Africa 300 million people lacked access to improved water sources. South Asia has made excellent progress, but contamination of water sources poses new risks. In East Asia rapid urbanisation is posing a challenge for the provision of water and other public utilities. Data are lacking for Europe and Central Asia in the early 1990s. In the Middle East and North Africa, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco have made the fastest progress.
|region ||% urban ||% rural ||% total |
|Africa ||15 ||57 ||38|
|Asia ||7 ||25 ||19|
|Latin America & the Caribbean ||7 ||38 ||15|
|Oceania (a) ||= ||= ||12|
|Europe (b) ||0 ||13 ||2|
|North America ||0 || (c) ||=|
Note: (a) See footnote 3); (b) European data incomplete or not reliable; (c) Only 71,000 people on 218 million US 2000 global population.
Source: extracted from “Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report” (GWSSA), World Health Organization and UNICEF.
(1) UN Millennium Development Goal (2000): 'Reduce by half, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.'
(2) These figures are based on estimates from countries that represent approximately 96% of Africa's total population.
(3) When the figures for Australia’s large and well-served population are excluded, coverage levels are much lower. Patterns of urban and rural coverage are difficult to distinguish, as some of the small islands in this region define themselves as either entirely urban or entirely rural.
(4) Coverage estimates based on data for 99% of the region's population.