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Water is life

Mar 23, 2010, 10:33 AM

Every year, more people die from the consequences of unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war. Every year, the contamination of water resources within natural habitats affects us all directly by destroying fresh water fisheries, affecting food production and spreading sickness and disease.

As we mark another World Water Day yesterday, the need to highlights a specific aspect of freshwater is essential. The 2010 theme is "Water Quality," aimed at raising quality as a crucial element of water management, alongside quantity.

Clean, safe, and adequate freshwater is vital to the survival of all living organisms and the smooth functioning of ecosystems, communities, and economies.

However, the quality of the world's water is increasingly threatened as human populations grow, industrial and agricultural activities expand, and climate change threatens to cause major alterations of the hydrologic cycle.

As we observe the day, we need to raise awareness about sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being through addressing increasing water quality challenges in water management.

We encourage governments, organisations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in proactively addressing water quality, thus ensuring access to clean drinkable water for all.

The day should serve as a reminder for all as of how the availability of clean water and safe sanitation shapes human lives. It impacts on human health and the survival of young children; it influences school enrolment and learning, especially for girls; it affects the burden of securing water for daily living, especially for women; and it changes livelihood opportunities and the health of ecosystems that sustain life. Access to safe water and sanitation is a key driver of human development.

Globally, we learnt that the world is on track to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to a safe supply of drinking water by 2015, a key human development target laid out by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs are eight development targets agreed upon by the world?s leaders in order to halve extreme poverty by 2015. But significant gaps remain in many countries everywhere, while the sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania regions as a whole are not on track to meet the water MDG by 2015. Nonetheless, several countries in sub-Saharan Africa are making rapid progress, in spite of historically low rates of access to clean water, and rapidly growing populations.

The sanitation situation, however, remains daunting challenge. Globally, 2.6 billion people are still without improved sanitation today we discovered.

According to UN, unless the pace of progress increases rapidly, it will be 2.7 billion in 2015. The world is quickly losing ground in reaching the MDG target for sanitation, which calls for reducing by half the proportion of people without access to adequate sanitation.

Shortcomings in water governance - how decisions are made about the use of water and provision of water and sanitation services ? remain an underlying constraint on better progress towards the MDG water target.

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