Access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitary facilities is vital for a healthy life. Many diseases can be prevented with simple hygiene measures. Between 2020 and 2022, the proportion of the world's population with access to sfe drinking water supply has already increased from 61 to 73 percent. Access to safe sanitation facilities has risen from 32 to 57 percent. However, over 40 percent of domestic wastewater worldwide is still discharged untreated into rivers, lakes and oceans. A lack of wastewater systems in turn means that drinking water systems are also polluted. Around 2 billion people still have no access to a safe drinking water supply and a similar number of people have no way of washing their hands with clean water and soap at home. 494 million people worldwide are forced to practice open defecation.*

This is why managing drinking water supply and keeping waters clean is of particular importance. ADA supports developing countries in establishing sustainable water supply and sanitation systems and strengthens the institutions responsible for this. Suitable operator structurs for water and wastewater infrastructure play a crucial role in this. In addition to trained personnel, clear water legislation and institutions which are able to implement these requirements are also needed. As the access to water and sanitary facilities are human rights, access to water supply and wastewater disposal must be organised in such a way that it is affordable for all sections of the population. At the same time, the sustainable financing of ongoing operations must be guaranteed.

ADA supports projects and programmes in the field of water and sanitation in the priority countries Moldova, Mozambique, Palestine and Uganda. In addition, projects to strengthen cross-border, integrated water resource management are suppported via the regional budget lines "Global" and "Africa Region".

Sustainable water and wastewater solutions are closely linked to the energy and food security challenges of the respective region: If the world population grows to nine billion people by 2050 and the climate continues to change globally, the pressure on scarce water resources will increase even more. Although global water stress (the ratio of freshwater withdrawals to the total renewable freshwater resources of a country or region) remained at a seemingly safe level of 18.2 percent in 2020, this masks significant regional differences. In Central and South Asia, water stress is very high at over 75 percent, and in North Africa it is even critical at over 100 per cent. In North Africa and West Asia, water stress increased by 18 percent between 2015 and 2020. In 2020, approx. 2.3 billion people lived in water-stressed countries, of which 733 million lived in high and critically water-stressed countries, and it is already foreseeable that scarcity will greatly worsen in regions where water is already in short supply – such as the Middle East and the Sahel in Africa.

Sustainable use of water for water supply, energy generation and food production is therefore of the utmost importance, as it helps to reduce poverty, protect the environment and is a key factor for peace and stability.

* It should be noted at this point that some of these figures are estimates. Despite great efforts by the United Nations - also with the support of the ADA - it is a lengthy and difficult process to improve the global data situation for all SDG indicators