Stockholm, August 26.
2011 - Investing as little as 0.16% of the world's
gross domestic product - or $198bn per year- could give half a
billion people regular access to safe drinking water within four
years, a UN official said on Friday.
That would halve the number of people who risk serious illness and
death on a daily basis, the United Nations Environment Programme
The findings are presented in the UN's Green Economy
report, which also warns that if the
global community continues to ignore water services investments,
demand for water, risks outstripping supply by 40% before
UNEP spokesperson Nick Nuttall said the world total of people
without access to safe drinking water currently totals about one
According to the report, people living in countries such as
Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam are particularly
prone to catching waterborne diseases because of the poor water
"Accelerated investment in water-dependent ecosystems, water
infrastructure and water management, coupled with effective
policies, can boost water and food security, improve human health
and promote economic growth," said UN under secretary general and
Unep executive director Achim Steiner.
Professor Mike Young, lead author of the water chapter of the
report, said that "without this investment and policy reform, water
supply crises will become increasingly common".
Unep said that more water productivity, recycling, new dams and
desalination plants could largely help avoid increased drinking
water scarcity but that money also needs to be put toward
infrastructure, water policy reforms and technologies.
The findings were presented during this week's World Water Week in
Its participants also signed a statement urging next year's Earth
Summit in Rio de Janeiro to commit to achieving "universal
provisioning of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and modern
energy services by the year 2030".
That would include making water safer and more available, reducing
water pollution, increasing the quantity of recycled water, and
using water more efficiently in energy production, agriculture and
the food supply chain.
GLOBE 2012 taking place
on March 14-16, 2012 will bring world experts together to discuss
how improved technology, infrastructure investment, and
information-based solutions are helping to ensure adequate supply
of water - a critical natural resource.