World Water Day 2013

Make universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene a reality by 2030.


22 Mar 2013 | AU
  • WaterAid calls on Australian Government to lead the international community in committing to bold post 2015 development framework targets on universal access to water and sanitation by 2030
  • Achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene could save 2.5 million lives and yield $320 billion a year for the global economy according to report launched today
  • WaterAid report ‘Everyone Everywhere’ states that for the first time in history this longstanding goal is within reach

Today, on the 20th Anniversary of World Water Day, WaterAid is calling on the Australian Government to lead the world in setting an ambitious target for providing access to water, sanitation and hygiene for everyone by 2030.

The call on the Government comes a few days before the third and final meeting of the UN High Level Panel on the post 2015 development framework which begins in Indonesia on March 25th 2013. The panel is responsible for developing a new vision to guide international development efforts beyond the Millennium Development Goals which expire in 2015.

Adam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of WaterAid Australia said:

Ensuring that everyone in the world has clean water to drink will rank as one of the great achievements of humankind. The international community must not settle for anything less. Few endeavours will have a greater impact on the lives of the world’s poorest and we want to see Australia leading the international community by calling for this to be achieved by 2030. We cannot eradicate poverty without doing so - water is just the beginning.
History shows that the health, welfare and productivity of developing countries are closely linked with improvements in water sanitation and hygiene. Improvements in these areas are critical to tackling poverty, creating sustainable development and achieving economic growth. You only need to look at Australia’s cities in the late nineteenth century, to see how investing in water and sanitation infrastructure leads to economic development. A similar picture can be found across South East Asia today; in South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore; all thriving economies and examples of how investing in the basics, works.
For the first time this longstanding goal is within reach. Today we are calling on the Australian Government to stand alongside the hundreds of thousands of people who are Walking for Water on World Water Day and to put universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene at the heart of the international agenda.

WaterAid’s report ‘Everyone Everywhere’ published today(1) sets out a vision for making safe water and sanitation available to all and reviews the progress that has been made to date in tackling water poverty.

Over 300,000 people worldwide are participating in World Walks for Water and Sanitation taking place from Saturday the 16 of March to Saturday the 23 of March.



Spokespeople are available on request, to arrange an interview contact:
Kirrily Johns 03 9001 8246 [email protected]

  1. Everyone, Everywhere - A vision for water, sanitation and hygiene post-2015 - report can be downloaded from here.
  2. Millennium Development Goal drinking water target met Sanitation target still lagging far behind – UNICEF & WHO press release can be accessed here.
  3. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012 – UNICEF report can be accessed here.
  4. WaterAid projections based on the latest Joint Monitoring Programme figures, available on request.
  5. Saving lives: sanitation and water for all would save 2.5 million lives – WaterAid discussion paper can be accessed here.
  6. Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage – WHO report can be accessed here.

WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. The international organisation works in 27 countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 17.5 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 12.9 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit , follow @wateraid on Twitter or visit us on Facebook at

  • Around 2,000 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.
  • 783 million people in the world live without safe water. This is roughly one in ten of the world's population.
  • 2.5 billion people live without sanitation; this is 39% of the world's population.
  • For every $1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of $4 is returned in increased productivity.

    About the progress made on water poverty

    • Nearly eleven percent of the world’s population still lack access to water today and by 2015 that will be 8%.
    • More than two billion people have gained access to improved drinking water since 1990.
    • The UN Secretary General announced that the water MDG target was met on the 6th of March 2012. The report that includes details of meeting the target can be downloaded from
    • Access to water has proved uneven. In sub-Saharan Africa, almost 9 out of 10 of the richest population use improved water sources, while only 35% of the poorest do. In the 50 poorest (least developed countries - LDCs), much of the population has not benefited from investment in drinking water. Coverage globally stands at 89%, but it is only 63% in LDCs.
    • 37% of the world’s population still lack access to sanitation and by 2015 that will be 33%. Sub-Saharan Africa on current trends is not likely to have universal access to sanitation for another 350 years (2360).