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Safe drinking water in
South India
A continuing increase in the number of people living in water scarce areas makes the need for access to clean water a top priority for anyone concerned about sustainable development, according to a new UK report.

A briefing paper produced by the UK’s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology points out that at present one in five of the world’s population does not have access to safe drinking water, and four million people die each year of waterborne diseases such as cholera. The vast majority of those affected are in developing countries, and these figures are set to rise over the coming years.

The report quotes projections from the Stockholm Environment Institute, which estimates that in 2025 nearly two thirds of the world’s population will live in countries with significant water stress, including large areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

“Sound management of water resources and access to water and sanitation services are now regarded as key components of sustainable development, particularly as a precondition for the steady improvement in living standards in developing countries,” the report says.

Inefficient use of water in agriculture, population growth (particularly in urban areas), water pollution and international conflict are some of the pressures on clean and adequate water supplies in the developing world, it says.

Link to briefing paper, Access to water in developing countries

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