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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

UNDP in Africa

Solar empowernment across countries

Sustainable irrigation helps farmers adapt to climate change and maintain productivity. Canada partnered with UNDP to strengthen resilience of vulnerable communities, including introducing solar-powered water supply in Cabo Verde, Mali, Niger and Sudan. MORE >

UNDP in Cote d’Ivoire

Improving water access in former conflict areas

More than 61,000 people living in western Cote d’Ivoire have access to clean water through new and rehabilitated water sources, as part of the conflict recovery process in the country. MORE >

UNDP in South Sudan

Thousands get clean water in South Sudan

Today more than 10,000 people in South Sudan have improved access to clean water, reducing the trip to collect water from four hours to 20 minutes thanks to a reservoir built as part of an initiative managed by the UNDP. MORE >

UNDP Around the world

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