The state of world’s water and sanitation: Is it worse than we thought?

According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF’s Joint Monitoring Programme’s (JMP) recently updated baseline numbers on “safely managed” drinking water and sanitation services, 2.1 billion people lack access to safe water and 4.5 billion lack safely managed sanitation. That is a lot of people! And it makes the global situation 30% grimmer for water and 75% direr for sanitation than the previous numbers stated.

This is far, far worse than everyone thought. Or maybe not?

Definitely not. At Water For People we’re not surprised by these new numbers. The previous JMP baseline was for very basic services — not services any of us would consider acceptable. The new JMP baseline is more realistic and accurate and is in line with what we already knew based on our own data from the annual monitoring we do in the field — especially in rural areas. For us, these new JMP numbers aren’t changing our goals or the ways we work. They do, however, give us a greater sense of urgency and more motivation to focus on the mission we had: getting ahead of population growth and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030 in the nine countries where we work.

The global water and sanitation crisis can be solved. We know how to get the work done so that everyone in the world can enjoy reliable and safe water and sanitation services. What we need are the resources (human and financial) and the political will to solve it once and for all for Everyone Forever.

Read more of my deeper reflection on the new JMP baseline numbers on Medium at @waterforpeople, and join us today to help us reach Everyone Forever. Our impact continues to grow. Come and be part of our exciting work that genuinely improves the quality of life for millions of people around the world.