The Road from Thirst

Millions of people worldwide face serious water-related challenges, with profound implications for security, development, and sustainability. Addressing these challenges demands reinvigorated efforts in four key areas: technology-based solutions, public-private partnerships, sanitation, and climate change.

WASHINGTON, DC – Millions of the world’s poorest people face serious water-related challenges – from lack of access and shortages to disputes over supplies – with profound implications for security, economic development, and environmental sustainability. As world leaders design a development agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015, addressing these issues should be a top priority.

Consider this: Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion people lack adequate sanitation. The costs are staggering: thousands of child deaths every day, and annual economic losses estimated at $260 billion – more than double the total amount of official development assistance.

Making matters worse, climate change will render water supplies more unpredictable, with increasingly frequent and intense floods and droughts imposing significant human and economic costs and impeding development in poor countries. And the expanding global population – set to reach more than 9.5 billion by 2050 – will strain water resources still further.

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