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Drinking water supply

A girl in Laos drinking water from a safe source

The challenges in the area of drinking water supply and sanitation have been underestimated for decades. Monitoring methods did not reflect the reality, especially not the reality of developing countries. The UN report WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP) – 2017 Update and SDG Baselines notes that roughly three times more people are without access to drinking water than was previously thought – making a total of 2.1 billion people. The differences are attributable amongst other things, to the fact that monitoring processes now take new aspects into account, such as water quality and inacceptable disruptions of supply.

Polluted water is one of the most frequent causes of disease and death worldwide.

In many regions, people do not have safe drinking water close to their homes. Instead they are forced to go long distances to fetch water. This task mostly falls to women and girls. It takes time and keeps them from doing other activities such as going to school or earning an income.

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda firmly established the goal of ensuring access to safe drinking water for all by 2030 in international policy. This is also the declared objective of German development cooperation in the water sector.

Possible solutions for providing access to drinking water

Two women in Ethiopia pumping water from a safe well

Access to drinking water takes many forms. People in industrialised countries are used to getting their water from taps in their own homes. If this form of supply cannot be made available quickly, temporary solutions are found. Even collective access points can mean huge progress if they provide hygienically safe water – whether via protected water sources and wells or in the form of treated water. Water kiosks often come into play as public water points providing water at affordable prices.

German development cooperation projects support our partner countries in their efforts to improve supply systems. The aim is to give all people access to water via piped water supply systems in their homes.


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