Despite progress, billions of people still lack safe water, sanitation and handwashing facilities. Data suggests that achieving universal access to even basic sanitation service by 2030 would require doubling the current annual rate of progress. More efficient use and management of water are critical to addressing the growing demand for water, threats to water security and the increasing frequency and severity of droughts and floods resulting from climate change. As of the time of writing, most countries are unlikely to reach full implementation of integrated water resources management by 2030.
Globally, the proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services increased from 61 to 71 per cent between 2000 and 2015 and remained unchanged in 2017. An additional 19 per cent of the global population used basic drinking water services. This means that 785 million people still lacked even a basic drinking water service.
The global population using safely managed sanitation services increased from 28 per cent in 2000 to 43 per cent in 2015 and to 45 per cent in 2017, with the greatest increases occurring in Latin America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa and East and South-East Asia. Between 2000 and 2017, the proportion lacking even a basic sanitation service decreased from 44 to 27 per cent, yet 701 million people still practiced open defecation in 2017. E/2019/68 19-07404 13/39
In 2017, some 60 per cent of people worldwide and only 38 per cent in least developed countries had a basic handwashing facility with soap and water at home, leaving an estimated 3 billion people without basic handwashing facilities at home.
In 2016, one third of all primary schools lacked basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services, affecting the education of millions of schoolchildren, but particularly girls managing menstruation, and one in four health-care facilities worldwide lacked basic water services, affecting more than 2 billion people.
Approximately one third of countries have medium or high levels of water stress. Almost all countries that have registered high water stress are located in North Africa and West Asia or in Central and South Asia, and these levels indicate serious water difficulties in the supply of freshwater, at least during parts of the year.
Of 172 countries, 80 per cent have medium-low implementation or better of integrated water resources management. However, 60 per cent of countries are unlikely to reach the target of full implementation by 2030.
A significant effort is needed to ensure that cooperation is operational in all transboundary basins. According to data from 67 of 153 countries that share transboundary waters, the average percentage of national transboundary basins covered by an operational arrangement was 59 per cent in the period 2017–2018, with only 17 countries reporting that all their transboundary basins were covered by such arrangements.
Following several years of steady increases and after reaching $9 billion in 2016, ODA disbursements to the water sector declined by 2 per cent from 2016 to 2017. However, ODA commitments to the water sector jumped by 36 per cent between 2016 and 2017, indicating a renewed focus by donors on the sector.