Most of world now has clean water

More than two billion people have gained access to better drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells, between 1990 and 2010, UN officials declared yesterday.

This means the world has met the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goal to halve the proportion of people with no safe drinking water well ahead of the 2015 deadline, Unicef and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said this was “a great achievement for the people of the world”.

The Millennium Development Goals are a group of targets set by the international community in 2000 to seek to improve health and reduce poverty among the world’s poorest people by 2015.

Mr Ban said: “The successful efforts to provide greater access to drinking water are a testament to all who see the MDGs not as a dream, but as a vital tool for improving the lives of millions.”

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A report by the UN children’s fund Unicef and the WHO found that at the end of 2010, 89 per cent of the world’s population, or 6.1 billion people, had access to improved drinking water – higher than the 88 per cent MDG target.

The report estimates that by 2015, 92 per cent of the global population will have access to improved drinking water.