The United Nations has said that the goal of safely managed water and sanitation for every individual might not be achieved by 2030.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in his message on World Water Day at the United Nations Water Conference in Abuja on Wednesday, described water as what is vital to every aspect of human survival, well-being, economic development and prosperity of every nation.
Guterres, however, lamented that water was being “poisoned by pollution and drained by vampiric overuse, with water demand expected to exceed supply by 40 per cent by decade’s end.”
The UN Secretary-General noted that this year’s theme of World Water Day reminds the UN of the cost of these failures on the billions of people who lack access to safe water and sanitation.
He said “Meanwhile, climate change is wreaking havoc on water’s natural cycle. Greenhouse gas pollution continues to rise to all-time record levels, heating the world’s climate to dangerous levels. This is worsening water-related disasters, disease outbreaks, water shortages and droughts while inflicting damage to infrastructure, food production, and supply chains.
“Out of every 100 people on earth, 25 fetch all their water from open streams and ponds — or pay high prices to buy water of dubious safety. 22 relieve themselves outdoors or use dirty, dangerous or broken latrines. And 44 see their wastewater flow back into nature untreated, with disastrous health and environmental consequences.
“In short, our world is dramatically — and dangerously — off-track to reaching our goal of safely managed water and sanitation for all by 2030.”
He urged all countries across the globe to do away with fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy, thereby helping to protect, sustainably manage and ensure equitable access to water for all.
Guterres explained, “This year’s World Water Day reminds us of our individual and collective roles to protect and sustainably use and manage humanity’s lifeblood for present and future generations.
“The United Nations Water Conference, which kicks off today, is a critical moment for national governments, local and regional authorities, businesses, scientists, youth, civil society organisations and communities to join forces, and co-design and invest in solutions to achieve clean water and sanitation for all.
“Meanwhile, governments, businesses and investors must take much bolder actions to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, with the G20 leading the way. We must break our addiction to fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy while supporting developing countries every step of the way.”