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Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of people around the world, an alarming figure that is projected to increase with the rise of global temperatures as a result of climate change. Although 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved water sanitation since 1990, dwindling supplies of safe drinking water is a major problem impacting every continent.

In 2011, 41 countries experienced water stress – 10 of which are close to depleting their supply of renewable freshwater and must now rely on alternative sources. Increasing drought and desertification is already worsening these trends. By 2050, it is projected that at least one in four people will be affected by recurring water shortages.

Ensuring universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 requires we invest in adequate infrastructure, provide sanitation facilities, and encourage hygiene at every level. Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems such as forests, mountains, wetlands and rivers is essential if we are to mitigate water scarcity. More international cooperation is also needed to encourage water efficiency and support treatment technologies in developing countries.  

Goals in action

SDG 1, 5, 6 and 13

Bringing the land to life

Esther Kuluo was born into a family of Maasai pastoralists in North Narok. Keeping her family fed was a growing challenge, as successive droughts, increasingly unpredictable rainfall and other impacts of climate change made it difficult to find enough pasture and water. MORE >

SDG 1, 6 and 8

Improving water catchment in the dry lands

The Kiang’ombe hill is estimated to have the highest terrain elevation within the district of Mbeere, and has been a major water catchment area and water resource. Over time however, the catchment area has been under increasing threat. MORE >

SDG 1, 5, 6 and 13

Easing water hardship for women

Women have to trek an average distance of 6 to 10 kilometers in Marsabit and other parts of northern Kenya in search of water, which they eventually carry on their heads or backs. These 30 liter barrels can be rolled with ease, making it easier for them to transport water. MORE >

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