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Safe Drinking Water, Sanitation MDG Will Be Met But Inequalities In Access Remain

Reaching the Millennium Development Goal of “[r]educing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015” likely will be reached, “but large numbers of people in the world’s least developed regions will still not benefit,” according to a report (.pdf) released Tuesday by UNICEF and the WHO, the U.N. News Centre reports (12/20). The report “found that between 1990 and 2008, the proportion of the world’s population with access to improved drinking water sources increased from 77 percent to 87 percent,” which means 1.8 billion more people have drinking water access, according to Medical Daily (Daley, 12/20).

“However, the report stresses, even though good progress has been made, at the current rate, 672 million people will still not be using improved drinking water sources in 2015,” a UNICEF press release states, noting “there are many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, Eastern Asia and South-Eastern Asia that are not on track to meet the target despite progress.” The report also found poor rural populations had the least access to drinking water; access to water does not mean it is safe for consumption; and climate change poses threats to existing and future water infrastructure, according to the press release (12/20).