Focus on Water

Jan 10, 2017

Water is fundamental of the life. But More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. The United Nations (UN) estimates that, of 1.4 billion cubic kilometers (1 quadrillion acre-feet) of water on Earth, just 200,000 cubic kilometers (162.1 billion acre-feet) represent fresh water available for human consumption.


More than one in every six people in the world is water stressed, meaning that they do not have sufficient access to potable water. Those that are water stressed make up 1.1 billion people in the world and are living in developing countries. According to the Falkenmark Water Stress Indicator, a country or region is said to experience "water stress" when annual water supplies drop below 1,700 cubic metres per person per year. At levels between 1,700 and 1,000 cubic meters per person per year, periodic or limited water shortages can be expected. When a country is below 1,000 cubic meters per person per year, the country then faces water scarcity. In 2006, about 700 million people in 43 countries were living below the 1,700 cubic metres per person threshold. Water stress is ever intensifying in regions such as China, India, and Sub-Saharan Africa, which contains the largest number of water stressed countries of any region with almost one fourth of the population living in a water stressed country. The world's most water stressed region is the Middle East with averages of 1,200 cubic metres of water per person. In China, more than 538 million people are living in a water-stressed region. Much of the water stressed population currently live in river basins where the usage of water resources greatly exceed the renewal of the water source.


Waterborne diseases caused by lack of sanitation and hygiene are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. For children under age five, waterborne diseases are a leading cause of death. According to the World Bank, 88 percent of all waterborne diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

A 2006 United Nations report focuses on issues of governance as the core of the water crisis, saying "There is enough water for everyone" and "Water insufficiency is often due to mismanagement, corruption, lack of appropriate institutions, bureaucratic inertia and a shortage of investment in both human capacity and physical infrastructure".


Water in China


Water supply and sanitation in China is undergoing a massive transition while facing numerous challenges such as rapid urbanization, a widening gap between rich and poor as well as urban and rural areas. Water scarcity, contamination, and pollution in China also pose great challenges.


Nevertheless, much remains to be achieved. According to survey data analyzed by the Joint Monitoring Program for Water and Sanitation of WHO and UNICEF, about 100 million Chinese still did not have access to an improved water source in 2008, and about 460 million did not have access to improved sanitation. Progress in rural areas appears to lag behind what has been achieved in urban areas. According to data presented by the Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation of WHO and UNICEF in 2015, about 36% of the rural population in China still did not have access to improved sanitation.








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