The joint WHO-UNICEF report Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation:2012 Update was published yesterday. Here’s a couple of quotes:
The report brings welcome news: The MDG drinking water target, which calls for halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2015, was met in 2010, five years ahead of schedule. However, the report also shows why the job is far from finished. Many still lack safe drinking water, and the world is unlikely to meet the MDG sanitation target. Continued efforts are needed to reduce urban-rural disparities and inequities associated with poverty; to dramatically increase coverage in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania; to promote global monitoring of drinking water quality; to bring sanitation ‘on track’; and to look beyond the MDG target towards universal coverage.
Over 780 million people are still without access to improved sources of drinking water and 2.5 billion lack improved sanitation. If current trends continue, these numbers will remain unacceptably high in 2015: 605 million people will be without an improved drinking water source and 2.4 billion people will lack access to improved sanitation facilities.
Most of those without an improved water supply were in Sub-Saharan Africa (mainly in rural areas), and most of those without improved sanitation were in Sub-Saharan Africa, India, and the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Open defecation (OD) was still practised by 1.1 billion people in 2010 – almost a fifth of the population in developing countries. Nearly 60 per cent of those practising OD were in just one country − India.
So water supply OK (unless you’re in rural Africa) but sanitation lamentably still not OK – no surprise there then.