"Between 1990 and 2010, 2.3 billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources. This is positive, but not enough." 2016 World Water Development Report on today's World Water Day.

The United Nations World Water Development Report 2016, titled "Water and Jobs" contains the latest findings, fact and figures. Lets mention a few of them.

More than 700 million people still do not have access to clean and safe water for a healthy life. Many developing countries are in water stress hotspots, and likely to be hit hardest by climate change. At the same time, demand for water is soaring, especially in emerging economies where agriculture, industry, and cities are developing at a fast pace. This is why water stands at the heart of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Water is highlighted in Goal 6 on ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation, and important for the success of all other objectives. 

Water is vital for agriculture, industry, transport and the production of energy and is an engine for economic growth. It generates and sustains jobs worldwide, but attaining the development goals will not just be a matter of adequate resources of water as a raw material. Water quality and sanitation remains essential in providing a decent livelihood. Of the 2.3 million work-related deaths every year, 17 percent can be linked to communicable diseases and unsafe drinking water. This is why safe drinking water and sanitation at the workplace must become priorities everywhere.

According to the Report, 78% of the jobs constituting the global workforce are dependent on water. "To hold the dialogue about the water and jobs nexus in the broader arena of science, technology and innovation policies, decision makers will have to step outside their comfort zones," Uta Wehn, Associate Professor in Water Innovation Studies in the Integrated Water Systems and Governance Department at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, says.

"The fact is that water is work." These words from Guy Ryder, the ILO Director-General and Chair of UN-Water, encapsulate the theme of World Water Day 2016. Watch his video message commemorating this event and learn more about the myriad ways that water is vital to sustainable development.

March 22, 2016 Living photo: Profimedia

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