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Opinion: Water and the World We Want
By Corinne Schuster-Wallace and Robert Sandford
We have entered a watershed year, a moment critical for humanity.
As we reflect on the successes and failures of the Millennium Development Goals, we look toward the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals to redress imbalances perpetuated through unsustainable economic growth and to help achieve key universally-shared ambitions, including stable political systems, greater wealth and better health for all.
More than any other resource, freshwater underpins sustainable development. Not only is it necessary for life and human well-being, it’s a key element of all human industry.
And a U.N. report launched Feb. 24, “Water in the World We Want,” outlines what must be done within the world’s water system.
Effective management and universal provisioning of drinking water and sanitation coupled with good hygiene are the most critical elements of sustainability and development, preventing disease and death and facilitating education and economic productivity.
While 2 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water since 2000, it is estimated that just as many do not have access to potable quality water, let alone 24-7 service in their homes, schools and health facilities. Furthermore, 2.5 billion people without adequate access and 1 billion with no toilet at all.
If we don’t regain momentum in water sector improvements, population growth, economic instability, Earth system impacts and climate disruption may make it impossible to ever achieve a meaningful level of sustainability.
If this occurs we could face stalling or even reversal of development, meaning more people, not fewer, in poverty, and greater sub-national insecurity over water issues with the potential to create tension and conflict and destabilize countries.
Threat of a global water crisis is often mischaracterised as a lack of water to meet humanity’s diverse needs. It is actually a crisis of not enough water where we want it, when we want it, of sufficient quality to meet needs.
Read the full article: IPS News
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