Many more in world have safe drinking water

The world has reached the Millennium Development Goal of cutting by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water five years ahead of the 2015 deadline. A report by the U.N. Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization says 89 percent of the world’s population or more than six billion people now use improved drinking water sources.

The United Nations reports most people in the world now have access to safe drinking water. It says between 1990 and 2010, more than two billion people gained access to piped water supplies, protected wells and other improved drinking sources.

That is the good news. The bad news, the U.N. says, is that at least 11 percent of the world’s population, or a staggering 783 million people, still are without access to safe drinking water.

And it says efforts to provide sanitation facilities for billions of poor people are lagging woefully behind. The U.N. says the Millennium Development Goal of providing improved sanitation access to 75 percent of the world’s population by 2015 will not be reached.

The U.N. report notes it is not just the large middle-income countries that have improved water and sanitation for their people. It says some of the poorest countries in the world, which started off at a very low base, have also achieved amazing results.

For example, it says since 1995, Malawi has provided safe drinking water to half of its population, which is now approaching 15 million. Burkina Faso, it says, has achieved similar results.

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