This World Water Day, some good news about clean water

More than 2 billion people gained access to improved water sources between 1990 and 2010. This means that the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people without access to clean water by 2015 has been reached.

By Kathryn Reid. Photo by Vanndeth Um.
Published March 21, 2012 at 12:00am PDT

According to a recent United Nations report, 89 percent of the world’s population — 6.1 billion people — use improved water sources, such as wells and piped water systems.

Goal reached

In 1990, the UN set a Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people without access to clean water by 2015, and this target has just been reached. 

More than 2 billion people gained access to improved water sources between 1990 and 2010, according to “Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012,” a joint report from the World Health Organization and the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF. 

“For children, this is especially good news,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Every day, more than 3,000 children die from diarrheal diseases. Achieving this target will go a long way to saving children’s lives.”

Sub-Saharan Africa still behind

Gains in China and India account for perhaps half of the total increase.  

However, only 61 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa uses improved water sources, compared to 90 percent in much of the rest of the world. Without wells or piped water, many women and girls walk for miles and carry heavy jugs of water from unsafe sources several times a day.

Improved water sources are those that prevent outside contamination of the water. However, use of improved sources does not guarantee water quality, the report said.

Improvements in sanitation have not kept pace with those of water sources, making it unlikely that the goal of improved sanitation for 75 percent of the world’s population will be met by 2015. 

Learn more

Read more about clean water and sanitation issues on the World Vision Blog.

Three ways you can help

Please pray for children, families, and communities who struggle because they have no access to clean, safe water. Pray that Christians worldwide would be inspired to act by Christ’s words: “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” —Matthew 10:42 (NIV)

Make a one-time gift to World Vision’s Clean Water Fund. Your donation will help fund clean water and sanitation projects around the world, like deep wells, water storage containers, piping systems, latrines, hand-washing stations, and more.

Give monthly to support our clean water projects worldwide. The need is great, but your monthly contribution and ongoing support will help reduce the number of children and families who suffer because of waterborne illness.