Marking World Water Day: The Promise and Peril of Water

Water is so essential to life that to describe it as a key to sustainable human development may be superfluous, a self-evident cliché. But, for millions in many parts of the world, water is anything but an assured means to survival and growth. It may even be a threat, its careful management a dire necessity.

Upwards of 900 million people lack ready access to fresh water and have to hunt for it every day. Some 2.5 billion people, in rural communities around the world and, increasingly, in urban slums, have no safe sanitation and constantly run the risk of debilitating diseases. Every year 1.8 million people die from water-related sicknesses and floods, or famines due to crop failures and the perishing of their livestock for lack of water.

This is why the World Bank Group regards water as a priority in its development strategy, and devotes between 16% and 11% of total project financing each year to water programs.

For more information on water and sanitation, including cities taking action and building capacity, click here.