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A toast to the tap

©2011 Vanndeth Um/World Vision
10-year-old Ven Sreymoa is washing her stainless steel pot with clean water in Cambodia.

From World Vision:

According to a recent United Nations report, 89 percent of the world’s population — 6.1 billion people — use improved water sources such as wells and piped water systems.

In 1990, the U.N. set a Millennium Development Goal of halving proportion of people without access to clean water by 2015, and this target has just been reached.

More than 2 billion people gained access to improved water sources between 1990 and 2010, according to “Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012,” a joint report from the World Health Organization and the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF.

“For children this is especially good news,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Every day more than 3,000 children die from diarrheal diseases. Achieving this target will go a long way to saving children’s lives.”

Gains in China and India account for perhaps half of the total increase.

However, only 61 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa uses improved water sources, compared to 90 percent in much of the rest of the world.

Without wells or piped water, many women and girls walk for miles and carry heavy jugs of water from unsafe sources several times a day.

Improved water sources are those that prevent outside contamination of the water. However, use of improved sources does not guarantee water quality, the report said.

Improvements in sanitation have not kept pace with those of water sources, making it unlikely that the goal of improved sanitation for 75 percent of the world’s population will be met by 2015.

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