The core of sustainable development
Safe drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene are fundamental to human health and well-being. Aside from domestic purposes, water is needed for food, energy and industrial production – uses that are highly interconnected and potentially conflicting. These uses generate wastewater, which may cause pollution if not properly managed. Water is also needed to ensure healthy ecosystems, which in turn can improve the quantity and quality of freshwater, as well as overall resilience to human-induced and environmentally induced changes. The effects of climate change are often seen in changes in water availability, such as increasing water scarcity in some regions and flooding in others. Consequently, water is a key factor in managing risks related to famine, disease epidemics, migration, inequalities within and between countries, political instability and natural disasters.