From First Aid for Earthquake Victims to
SDG Target 6.1
Achieving universal access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030 presents a huge challenge for all countries, not just those with low incomes. The global population using at least a basic drinking water service increased from 81 per cent in 2000 to 89 per cent in 2015. However, only one in five countries below 95 per cent coverage is on track to achieve universal basic water services by 2030.
Achieving target 6.1 means addressing the “unfinished business” of extending services to 844 million people who still lack even a basic water service, and progressively improving the quality of services to 2.1 billion people who lack water accessible on premises, available when needed and free from contamination (safely managed drinking water).
It also implies going beyond households and providing access to services in schools, health-care facilities and other institutional settings. The commitment to “leave no one behind” will require increased attention on disadvantaged groups and efforts to monitor elimination of inequalities in drinking water services. Disaggregated data on basic services are available for a growing number of countries (80), by rural and urban area, wealth group and subnational region.
This enables governments to better identify and target disadvantaged groups, but further work is required to disaggregate estimates for safely managed services. In those countries where a large proportion of the population still lacks even a basic drinking water service, the initial focus must remain on ensuring that everyone has access to an improved drinking water source and reducing the time spent(primarily by women and girls) collecting water. Further work is also needed to establish a commonly agreed method for assessing affordability, as payment for services should not be a barrier to accessing services.