The 2015 Global Progress Report on sanitation and drinking water

By: Helgard Muller

The World Health Organisation (WHO) provides a global perspective on progress in sanitation and drinking water over the last 25 years

Recently an important report was released that did not draw the attention of the public media – it is the story reflecting how the world has performed in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on water supply and sanitation. This is the official United Nations (UN) report compiled by the Joint Monitoring Program (JMP), which comprises of the WHO working with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The global population grew by almost 2 billion people over the reporting period whilst urban growth has exploded by over 73%. This means most of the growth was in towns and cities where a massive 1,67 billion additional people now live and work in these urban areas.

This 2015 update report and MDGs assessment provide a global perspective on progress over the last 25 years in providing safe drinking water as well as sanitation to the world’s population. Here are some brief glimpses into this report…

The good news on drinking water supply:

  • The global MDG target – that is to half the portion of people without water – was already met in 2010;
  • 147 countries have met the MDG drinking water target, and South Africa is one of them; and
  • 91% of the world’s population now uses an improved drinking water source.

The not-so-good news:

  • 663 million people still lack an improved drinking water source – all prone to illness due to unsafe water supplies.

Read more about this feature in Plumbing Africa September page 45.

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