Demographic growth and the impacts of climate changes have contributed to accelerate the urban expansion over the last decades: half of the world population now lives in cities. This evolution contributed to the net increase of the proportion of urban people without access to safe water and to deteriorate urban water infrastructures. AquaFed repeatedly called for urgent and concrete action on water and sanitation for a better urban future.
Year after year, UN statistics have been showing global trend for progress of access to “improved” water sources. These findings hide a much more diverse reality. Whereas access to “improved” water sources resulted from a significant improvement in the rural half of the world over the last years, access to water in the urban half have been significantly worsening in the same time.
This is mainly due to the fast lighting urban population growth, particularly in megacities of emerging countries where expansion is increasing at a steady pace, which is requiring more fresh water resources to answer increasing basic needs, domestic activities and economic performance.
Official UN data show that water infrastructure developments are far from sufficient to meet the basic needs of an increasing urban population: the number of people without access to water is increasing in cities. This comes with a higher risk of water pollution and waste, particularly in emerging countries that doesn’t have the necessary technology for managing it efficiently and safely.
On the other hand, exponential population growth is also straining water infrastructure in cities, which are continuously deteriorating: most of the current services are outdated, overused and underserviced as investment isn’t keeping pace.
Since 2010, AquaFed has repeatedly warned about this continuous damage that is causing:
In line with current discussions in the perspective of HABITAT III, the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urbanization, AquaFed is calling on the urgent need for acceleration of drinking water and sanitation programs to improve living standards and economic productivity in cities.
As an agent of change, AquaFed is also supporting recent investments and initiatives which are contributing to the development of cities for a positive and sustainable urban future. Each dollar invested in water infrastructure is generating from 15 to 25$, either within the water industry or in related industries.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region where water infrastructure in cities are losing the most ground:
2/ Rural Progress
Fortunately, progress is continuing in the rural half of the world. Between 2000 and 2008:
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