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UN World Water Development Report 2024

More People Have Electricity and Drinking Water, But More Progress is Needed 

In line with World Water Day 2024, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released the UN World Water Development Report for 2024. The report explains how access to clean water, sanitation and other services are essential for security, peace and prosperity.  

UN World Water Development Report
  1. Freshwater use has been growing very slowly—by just under 1% per year—with industrial use (about 17%) and domestic use (about 12%) the main drivers of the increase. Energy production is included in industrial use and accounts for about 10% of the 17% usage. 

  2. Agriculture accounts for about 70% of global freshwater use.  

  3. A nation’s income predicts how water is used: Higher-income countries use more water for industry and domestic needs and a lower percentage for agriculture. But in low-income nations, almost 90% of freshwater is used for agriculture.  

  4. Between 2012 and 2019, the number of people without access to electricity dropped by about 500 million, but progress has since stagnated. In 2021, about 675 million people lacked access to electricity, including 567 million people who live in Sub-Saharan Africa.  

  5. As of 2022, 2.2 billion people (1.3 billion in rural areas and 0.9 billion in urban areas) were without access to safely managed drinking water. This is down from 2015, when 2.3 billion people (1.5 billion in rural areas and 0.8 billion in urban areas) lacked such access. 

  6. Also as of 2022, 3.5 billion people (1.9 billion in rural areas and 1.6 billion in urban areas) lacked access to safely managed sanitation services. This 0.3 billion decrease—from 3.8 billion people in 2015—is due to more people in rural areas getting access to such services. 

  7. “Natured-based solutions” are advocated to counter climate change. Without these interventions, the report said that by 2030, 150 million people a year could need humanitarian assistance due to floods, droughts, and storms. This could rise to 200 million people per year by 2050. 




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