More than two billion people deprived of water in the world, according to the UN

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On the sidelines of the celebration of the world water day scheduled for March 22, 2019 under the theme: “leave no one aside”, the United Nations (UN) has published a report whose alarming observation. His numbers are cold in the back. Not only are the poorest people still running out of water, but the problem is getting worse. At issue, global warming or the increase in the number of refugees.

As water becomes scarce, the demand for this vital resource will explode: how to handle this contradiction? In the face of this major challenge, the UN is taking stock of the left behind. As a result of population growth, economic development and the evolution of consumption patterns, global water demand is projected to increase by 20-30% from the current level by 2050, UN-water and UNESCO report annual report on water. At the same time, climate change may complicate access to drinking water with droughts and floods.

More than two billion people still do not have access to water in the world

It is a vital property, and yet more than two billion people still do not have access to water in the world. For world water day, the United Nations is releasing this year an alarming global report. Three out of ten people in the world do not have access to drinking water and six out of ten are deprived of sanitary facilities. This water shortage is primarily concerned with the poorest countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, where only one in four people have a source of drinking water, the most fragile populations recover water from tanker trucks or small sellers. They pay the water ten times more than the richer populations, unworthy the UN. Some families spend even a third of their income to have just a minimum of water.

The number of refugees without water is likely to increase as a result of global warming

The fundamental right to water is therefore not respected and the situation is not improving, far from it, because of the displacement of people, because refugees often do not have access to water. They were 70 million on the roads in 2017 due to conflicts and 25 million to flee a natural disaster. However, this influx is expected to increase as a result of global warming that increases the scarcity in some regions. Finally, water is such an issue that it itself becomes a source of conflict: the United Nations had about 100 water-related clashes between 2000 and 2009, there were already 260, or more than double, between 2010 and 2018. 

States will need to provide more funding for access to water

Inadequate access to quality drinking water and the lack of wastewater treatment services are costly in human life, with 780,000 deaths caused by dysentery and cholera each year, much more than the victims of conflict, earthquakes and epidemic, according to the report.

The United Nations therefore recalls in this report that international law “obliges States to work towards universal access to water and sanitation, without discrimination, giving priority to the poorest”.

“The objective of no longer being left behind is at the heart of the commitments made under the sustainable development programme in the 2030 horizon, which aims to enable all populations to benefit from socio-economic development and the full realization of human rights “.

But the sustainable development goal defined by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which provides for “by 2030 universal and equitable access to safe drinking water at an affordable cost”, may not be achieved.

Yet this goal is not achieved. Among the possible solutions, it would be necessary, for example, to develop “decentralized systems of less costly supply and sanitation in small agglomerations, including refugee camps”. And for people living in rural areas, the priority is to “have more adequate facilities close to home”. But for all this, the United Nations recalls, development aid will not suffice. States will therefore need to invest more to ensure better access to water, if the requirements are estimated at 114 billion annually, three times what is currently being spent, without taking into account operating and maintenance costs.

Moctar FICOU/VivAfrik                 

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