UNITED Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says water is a human right and nobody should be denied access.
In a message to mark World Water day which fell on Friday, Guterres said water was vital for survival and, alongside sanitation, helps protect public and environmental health.
“Our bodies, our cities and our industries, our agriculture and our ecosystems all depend on it. Water is a human right. Nobody should be denied access. This World Water Day is about upholding this right for all, leaving no one behind,” he said.
“Today, 2.1 billion people live without safe water due to factors such as economic status, gender, ethnicity, religion and age. Growing demands, coupled with poor management, have increased water stress in many parts of the world. Climate change is adding dramatically to the pressure. By 2030, an estimated 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity.”
Guterres said there was need to encourage cooperation to tackle the global water crisis and strengthen resilience to the effects of climate change to ensure access to water for all, especially for the most vulnerable.
“As we strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must value water resources and ensure their inclusive management if we are to protect and use this vital resource sustainably for the benefit of all people,” said Guterres.