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Access to water and sanitation remains a crucial issue of current concern in many countries. The issue of dwindling supplies of water must also be addressed in order to confront issues of future access to water.
Access to water: a Millennium Development Goal
Today, more than one billion people do not have access to drinking water and 2.6 billion do not receive sanitation services. This major issue has been recognised by the Member States of the UN, who adopted the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, which aimed to halve the percentage of people without access to drinking water or basic sanitation by 2015.
The proportion of the world population with access to safe water
Access to water in northern countries
Local authorities in northern countries are facing new political, social, environmental and economic problems, which raise questions about how certain populations - for instance those in remote and isolated areas, marginal populations or those facing financial difficulties - will have continuous access to drinking water and sanitation.
Increasing scarcity of the resource
Faced with dwindling supplies of water resources, industry stakeholders must engage with each other to take a robust approach to saving the resource and developing new technologies and alternative resources. This may, for example, involve desalination of sea water, developing processes which will enable wastewater to be reused for agricultural or industrial purposes or making more efficient distribution systems.
Proportion of the world population living in an area of high water stress