UN World Water Report: A quarter without access to clean water

Status: 03/22/2023 07:40 a.m

According to a UN report, the shortage of drinking water will continue to increase – even in places where the resource is still plentiful. Already today, 26 percent of the people have no access to clean water.

Immediately before its three-day water conference, the UN denounced the “vampiric” use of water reserves in the world. According to a report prepared for the conference, water is mankind’s “livelihood”. However, this is threatened by “vampire-like overconsumption”.

According to this, global water consumption has increased by about one percent per year over the past 40 years and is expected to continue to increase at a similar rate until 2050. Water scarcity will also be a problem “where the resource is still plentiful today”. Reasons for this include population growth, socio-economic development and changing consumption patterns.

Agriculture pollutes groundwater

In addition, there were problems with the water quality, it said. The main problem in low-income countries is usually insufficient wastewater treatment, in industrialized countries, on the other hand, the pollution of groundwater by agriculture. 26 percent of the world’s population has no access to clean drinking water.

Around ten percent of the world’s population live in a country where the water supply is difficult. Up to 3.5 million people live in such conditions for at least one month a year. The world is “walking blindly down a dangerous path,” warned UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “Unsustainable water use, pollution and uncontrolled global warming are sucking away mankind’s livelihood drop by drop.”

According to experts, the report made it clear how far the world still is from the UN goals of giving everyone access to clean water and sanitation by 2030. Around 6,500 participants are expected at the water conference, including 20 heads of state and government, dozens of ministers and hundreds of representatives from business and civil society. Germany will be represented by Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke.

No international treaties on water

The report is intended to serve as a basis for discussion at the summit, at which Guterres wants an ambitious program with concrete proposals for action to be drawn up. So far there is no international treaty on the subject and no UN water organization. The last water conference of a similar size was held in Argentina in 1997.

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