Issues: Sustainable water use
Access to improved water supply and sanitation
Indicators: Water use per capita
Water use as percentage of annual renewable resources
Proportion of population with access to improved water supply*
Proportion of population with access to improved sanitation**
indicator no. 30 under Target 10, Goal 7
**MDG indicator no. 31 under Target 10, Goal 7
The indicators of water use reflect the overall anthropogenic pressure
on freshwater resources. They also give an indication of human vulnerability
to water shortages and the need for adjustments in water management
policies. In many areas, water use is unsustainable: withdrawal exceeds
recharge rates and the water bodies are overexploited. The depletion
of water resources can have negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems and,
at the same time, undermine the basis for socio-economic development.
The map of per capita water use in 2000 by sub-regions (Figure 14)
illustrates a high consumption, for example, in Central Asia, North
America and the Mashriq. (The global average amounts to 633 m3/
capita/year.) Water use is relatively low in most African sub-regions:
Southern Africa, Western Africa, Eastern Africa and Central Africa.
When relating water use to the availability of renewable water resources
in the regions, countries in Northern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula
and the Mashriq stand out with values well over 100 per cent, indicating
that more water is consumed than is available internally (Figure 15).
A high percentage of use of renewable water resources is also observed
in Central and South Asia.
14: Per capita water use (m3) by sub-region in 2000
15: Water use as percentage of quantity of annual renewable water
resources by sub-region in 2000
Water supply and sanitation
Access to improved water supply and sanitation is absolutely crucial
to human health while the availability of a reliable water supply and
sanitation infrastructure helps protect water resources from overexploitation
and pollution, and maintain ecosystem health.
During 1990–2000, the percentage of the world population with
access to improved water supply and sanitation rose from 78 to 82 per
cent and 51 to 61 per cent respectively (WHO/UNICEF 2003) (Figures 16
and 17). However, despite the progress achieved, in 2000 about 2.4 billion
people still lacked access to improved sanitation and 1.1 billion lacked
access to safe drinking water (UNSD 2002).
There are not enough data reported by European countries to include
this region in the figures.
16: Population with access to improved water
supply (% of total) by region and global, 1990 and 2000
17: Population with access to improved sanitation (% of
total) by region and global, 1990 and 2000