Access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities is vital for a healthy life. Simple hygiene measures can prevent many diseases. Between 1990 and 2015, the ratio of the world population with access to improved drinking water supply rose from 76% in 1990 to 91%. Access to improved sanitary facilities increased from 54% to 68%. However, over 80% of wastewater are still discharged untreated into rivers, lakes and oceans. Due to a lack of sewage systems, drinking water supply is contaminated. About 2.1 billion people remain without safe access to clean drinking water.

This is why managing drinking water supply and keeping waters clean is of particular importance. The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) supports developing countries in setting up sustainable water supply and sanitation facilities and strengthens the responsible institutions. Suitable operator capacities for water and wastewater infrastructure play a special role here. Besides trained personnel, this also calls for clear water legislation and institutions that are capable of implementing the regulations. As access to water supply and sanitation is a human right, access to water and wastewater infrastructure must be designed in a way so they are affordable for all classes of society while also covering operating costs.

ADA supports water supply and sanitation projects and programs of selected global organisations and in the priority countries Albania, Moldova, Mozambique, Palestine and Uganda.

Sustainable water management approaches are closely linked with energy and food issues in each region: If the world population grows to 9 billion people by 2050, this will place even more pressure on scarce water resources. The sustainable use of water for water supply, power generation and food production is of particular importance as it helps reduce poverty and protect the environment. It also plays a key role for peace and stability.