Goal 6 of UN Sustainable Development Goals states “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” and target 6.1 is stated as “By 2030, universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all” (UN, 2015). Access to safe drinking water has been a priority and a lot of works has been done in the past decade. 76 percent of the world population had access to safe drinking water in 1990 which increased to 89 percent in 2010 (UN, 2015). However, a large proportion of world population still doesn’t have access to improved sources of drinking water. One in ten people of the word are lacking safe water (Water.org, 2015). Safe, acceptable and affordable water for personal and domestic uses has been recognized as a human right (UN, 2015).
Spatial and temporal variation of freshwater availability makes even distribution of water difficult. Further, increasing population of the world increases pressure on water supply and distribution. Population or the number of water users affects the availability of safe water. Regions with abundant supply of water ten years ago have been converted to water stress regions. Water stress is the ratio of total withdrawals to total renewable supply (Reig et al., 2013). Middle East countries, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Libya and Morocco are some of the regions with extremely high water stress and central African countries, Norway, Brazil, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Thailand have been categorised as low water stress countries (Reig et al., 2013).
Various solution measures could be taken to tackle increasing water stress across the countries and continents. Building reservoirs is an option to tackle climatic anomalies and changing rainfall patterns however its cost effectiveness (Barford and Everitt, 2012) should be considered. Desalination, purifying sea water or salty water, is another potential option particularly useful for arid areas. More than 120 countries around the world including Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE and Spain have been using desalination plants to provide drinking water (Huffington Beach, 2010). Tampa Bay desalination plant of USA, Point Lisas, Trinidad and Almeria, Spain are some of the largest desalination plants (Huffington Beach, 2010). Desalination plant with a capacity to provide water to 1 million people has been established by Thames Water in London in 2010 (Barford and Everitt, 2012). Rainwater harvesting and other water conservation measure and water saving practices are potential measures to cope with water deficits.
Barford, V. and Everitt, L. (2012) Eight Radical Solutions for the Water Shortage. [Online] Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk [Accessed on 20 November 2015].
Huntington Beach (2010) Desalination Worldwide [Online] Available at http://www.hbfreshwater.com [Accessed on 20 November 2015].
Reig, P., Maddocks, A., and Gassert, F. (2013) World’s 36 Most Water Stressed Countries [Online] Available at http://www.wri.org [Accessed on 14 November 2015].
United Nations (2015) Global Issues: Water [Online] Available at http://www.un.org [Accessed on 30 November 2015].
United Nations (2015) Sustainable Development Goals [Online] Available at http://www.un.org [Accessed on 30 November 2015].
Water.org (2015) Safe Water [Online] Available at http://www.water.org [Accessed on 30 November 2015].