Cheers to Clean Drinking Water

Cheers to Clean Drinking Water

Since 1990, two billion people have gained access to safe drinking water. Photo: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldbank/2944066693/in/photostream/">Curt Carnemark / World Bank</a>
Since 1990, two billion people have gained access to safe drinking water. Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank

Drink up, everyone, there’s great news in the wonderful world of water.

UNICEF and the World Health Organization announced today that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the number of people without access to drinking water has been met, well ahead of the 2015 deadline. The report estimates that at the end of 2010, 6.1 billion people, or 89 percent of the world’s population had access to safe drinking water. Since 1990, that's over two billion more people who have gained access to drinking water.

The announcement is welcome news not only for those two billion people but for everyone championing the MDGs. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recognized the achievement as “one of the first MDG targets to be met.”

Like most good news, it’s not all good news. 783 million people worldwide—more than one in ten—are still without access to clean water, and while the number of people without water is down globally, some countries continue to lag behind. The other half of the same MDG target , to halve the number of people without access to basic sanitation, remains “one of the MDGs most off-track” as 11 percent of the world’s population, or 2.5 billion people, still lack these services.*

Despite the shortcomings of the achievement, it is cause for both celebration for how far we've come and inspiration for the MDGs that yet remain.

Editor's note: *In an upcoming post, Global Envision will be exploring a Mercy Corps project to address sanitation services in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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