Water is one of the most valuable resources on Earth. It covers over two thirds of the planet’s surface, makes up around 70% of the human body and is essential for life. For many people a consistent supply of clean, safe water is on tap. But for many others life is not so easy.
Experts, decision-makers and innovators work together during World Water Week to foster new thinking and find solutions to some of the most pressing water-related challenges.
Here are some of the key issues they are facing.
Access to safe drinking water
One in every nine people on planet Earth – that is about 663 million people – does not have access to safe drinking water.
Unicef data for 2015 shows 71% (5.1 billion) of people had access to a safely managed water supply. This is defined as water from an improved source located on the premises, available when needed and free from contamination.
A further 17% (1.3 billion) rely on a basic water service, defined as having access to an improved water source within a round-trip of 30 minutes.
But many others have limited or no access to safe water, with 2% (129 million) of people depending on surface water.
In most countries with no access to safely managed drinking water the daily water collection is performed by women and girls. According to a United Nations report, African and Asian females walk on average 6km each day carrying up to 20kgs. An estimated 125 million physically demanding hours are spent each day collecting water, which could be otherwise spent in work or education.
The amount of water being used
In developing countries, 20 litres of water is enough to meet basic drinking, cooking and hand washing needs, a report authored by the World Health Organization says.
The same volume of water, 20 litres, is the minimum amount used during a one minute shower under a conventional shower head. Put another way, the average person uses more water during a 1 minute shower than most sub-Saharan Africans use in a day.
Consumption patterns are […]