Today marks the twentieth anniversary of UN World Water Day.
In the last two decades 2 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water, according to the World Health Organisation. The UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to halve the proportion of those without clean water was reached in 2010, five years ahead of the international deadline.
However, 783 million people – nearly 1 in 10 – remain without safe drinking water and 2.5 billion people do not have access to sanitation.
The water and sanitation crisis has a huge impact on development. In health, water-related diseases kill more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. It is the second biggest killer of children under five.
In economic terms, poor sanitation and dirty water costs sub-Saharan Africa 5 percent of its GDP a year – more than it currently receives in aid.