Action needed: time is running out for global water ambitions

1 min read
Jean-Bosco attaches jerry cans of water to his bike in Kibungo, Rweru, Bugesera, Rwanda, February 2018.
Image: WaterAid/ Jacques Nkinzingabo

by Sarina Prabasi, CEO of WaterAid America.

At current rates of progress, we are more than 100 years behind schedule to get safe water to everyone by 2030. The situation is now as dire as it is desperate.

Billions of people still live and die in water and sanitation poverty – a direct result of decisions taken, or not taken, by those in power.

The stats are as awful as they are endless: 785 million people don’t have clean water close to home; 2.3 billion people don’t have a toilet; and, in the least developed countries, over 70% do not have access to basic handwashing facilities with soap and water.

Next week, the UN meets in New York to review progress against reducing inequality by 2030. The mood cannot be self-congratulatory. By almost every measure we will miss the targets agreed to by leaders in 2015. It is the lack of commitment to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) that is holding that ambition back.