Among the many reasons of insecurity for people around the world, water insecurity doesn’t get much media attention, but it is important nonetheless. Ahead of World Water Day on Wednesday, the World Water Council has said that 12 percent of the world population has no access to sources of drinking water. Every day 4,500 children die from lack of access to clean water sources, and 3.5 million deaths are attributable to water-borne diseases, many more than the deaths caused by traffic accidents and AIDS combined.
The most dramatic situation is in sub-Saharan Africa, where 319 million inhabitants (32 percent of population) have no access to safe water, compared to 554 million Asians (12.5 percent of population) and 50 million South Americans (8 percent of population). At the bottom of the list, there are Papua New Guinea, where only 40 percent of the population has access to clean water sources, followed by Equatorial Guinea (48 percent), Angola (49 percent), Chad and Mozambique (51 percent), Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar (52 percent), and Afghanistan (55 percent).
Worldwide, the total cost of water insecurity on the global economy is estimated at $500 billion a year. If we add to this number the environmental impact, the figure increases further up, to one percent of the global Gross Domestic Product. All this produces famine, war and migration from the poorest to the richest areas of the world.