The report announces that the world has met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water, well ahead of schedule. However, the sanitation target will not be met if current trends continue. Analyzing access to drinking water and sanitation by regional trends, urban-rural disparities, and alternative indicators of progress, the report assesses progress, reports inequities, and reveals continuing challenges.
- An estimated 89% of the global population now uses improved drinking water sources; however, 780 million people are still unserved, huge disparities exist, and complete information about drinking water safety is not available for global monitoring.
- Globally, 63 percent of the population uses improved sanitation facilities, an increase of 1.8 billion since 1990; however an estimated 2.5 billion people are still without improved sanitation, nearly three-quarters of them living in rural areas.
- Global figures mask disparities between regions and countries and within countries -- for example, only 61% of people in sub-Saharan Africa have access to improved water supply sources compared with 90% in Latin America and the Caribbean, Northern Africa, and large parts of Asia.
- In many countries, the wealthiest people have seen the greatest improvement in water and sanitation access, while the poorest lag behind.
- Monitoring challenges lie ahead, as safety and reliability of drinking water supplies and the sustainability of water supply sources and sanitation facilities are not addressed by the current indicators used to track progress.