As of 2021 about 785 million people still lack access to safe water and only 30% of households report access to basic sanitation service. Water, sanitation, and hygiene are critical to the stability of every community. The vast majority of those lacking access to clean water live in rural areas, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Women and girls usually walk long distances to fetch water and do not have basic sanitation facilities.
Conventional wastewater treatment mainly targets organic matters but emerging pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, pesticides, industrial and household chemicals, are rarely monitored. Additionally, arsenic and lead pose a serious health risk to communities.
1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.
According to the UN, if the world continues on its current path, projections suggest that the world may face a 40% shortfall in water availability by 2030. The consequences of such stress are local, transboundary, and global in today’s interconnected world.
Every day in lean economies, 1,000 children under the age of 5 die from diarrheal diseases, with some 1,800 of these deaths linked to deficient water, sanitation or hygiene.
Even for those who have access to water, services are often inadequate or unsustainable, and water from improved sources can still be unsafe to drink like Flint, Michigan.
In the US, 97% of the over 150,000 public water systems serve fewer than 10,000 people and can be difficult to operate and sustain.