This spring the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated the early completion the 2015 development goal of bringing improved drinking water to an additional two billion people since 1990.
“Today we recognize a great achievement for the people of the world,” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the occasion. “The successful efforts to provide greater access to drinking water.”
The feat was a landmark in securing what the U.N. General Assembly declared in 2010 was a universal human right: “access to safe and clean water.” In an effort to improve health and quality of life across the world between 1990 and 2015, the U.N. established eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG). One of the sub targets was to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.”
And by early 2012 only approximately 800 million people around the globe still relied on “unimproved” water sources such as streams, ditches or unprotected wells, which are the most likely places for contaminated water. Pipes, boreholes and protected wells are much more likely to prevent contact with dangerous pathogens, chemicals or sewage runoff.