Gaining access to potable water has been a challenge in developing countries for centuries. According to the Global Risks 2015 report by the World Economic Forum, global water crises are the biggest threat facing the planet over the next decade. Globally, 785 million people still lack even basic drinking water services, and at least 2 billion people are using drinking water sources that have been contaminated with feces. As a result, 485,000 people die each year from diarrheal diseases related to contaminated drinking water. Cities in particular have found it difficult to provide drinking water and sewage systems for their residents, as urban populations skyrocket and groundwater runs dry.
- Providing clean water and sanitation will be one of the greatest global challenges over the next decade due to population growth and urbanization. Today, 785 million people lack access to clean drinking water, and over 2 billion lack access to a toilet.
- Additional sources of finance are needed in order to reduce the investment gap for water and sanitation programs. The World Bank estimates that current investment levels will need to at least triple in order to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6, which aims to ensure that people in all countries have access to sustainable water and sanitation.
- Through development agencies like USAID and OPIC, the United States can leverage additional private capital and increase the efficiency of existing water and sanitation programs. Reducing conflicts over water and ensuring stability in developing countries benefits U.S. development, security, and economic interests abroad.