World Water Day 2011: Fast Facts on Water and Cities

[22 March 2011] -- Coping with the growing needs of water and sanitation services within cities is one of the most pressing issues of this century. Sustainable, efficient and equitable urban water management has never been as important as in today’s world.
The urban poor are most affected. They are often not connected to the urban water supply system and rely on expensive private water vendors. For example, in Accra, Ghana, the urban poor pay up to 12 times more for a litre of water than their richer neighbours in other parts of the city.
The theme of World Water Day 2011, Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge, aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organisations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management. World Water Day is marked each year on 22 March.
Facts on Water and Cities
Here are some facts and figures on water and urbanisation compiled by the UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC)
  • Every second, the urban population grows by 2 people.
  • 95 per cent of the urban expansion in the next decades will take place in the developing world.
  • In Africa and Asia, the urban population is expected to double between 2000 and 2030.
  • Between 1998 and 2008, 1052 million urban dwellers gained access to improved drinking water and 813 million to improved sanitation. However, the urban population in that period grew by 1089 million people and thus undermined the progress.
  • One out of four city residents worldwide, 789 million in total, lives without access to improved sanitation facilities.
  • 497 million people in cities rely on shared sanitation. In 1990, this number was 249 million.
  • 27 per cent of the urban dwellers in the developing world do not have access to piped water at home.
For more about water and cities, please visit the UN’s World Water Day website.
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