Safe drinking water systems and adequate sanitation that effectively disposes of human waste will be essential to ensure cities and towns grow sustainably. Extending these services to the millions of urbanites currently unserved will play a key role in underpinning the health and security of cities, protecting economies and ecosystems and minimising the risk of pandemics.
ChallengesFor the first time in history, more than half of the global population live in towns and cities. By 2050, that proportion is expected to rise to two-thirds. Population growth is happening fastest in urban areas of less developed regions, with the urban population estimated to grow from 3.9 billion people today to 6.3 billion in 2050.
Even though water and sanitation access rates are generally higher in urban areas than rural, planning and infrastructure have been unable to keep pace in many regions. Today, 700 million urbanites live without improved sanitation, contributing to poor health conditions and heavy pollution loads in wastewater, and 156 million live without improved water sources.