By 2050, a quarter of the world’s population will live in areas where there is long-standing lack of clean water, warns the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

And by that time, global demand for fresh water is expected to grow by more than 40 percent, said the UN.

Today, 2.4 billion people are living without access to improved sanitation and 663 million are living without access to safe water, according to Water, an NGO operating globally in cooperation with WHO, UNICEF, and USAID, among others.

A child dies every 90 seconds due to a water-related illness, and one million people die due to lack of proper sanitation and hygiene-related diseases each year.

Further, access to water would pave the way for the ability to fight diseases, improved health for women and children, and reduce maternal mortality rates, among others.

In economic terms, USD 260 billion are lost annually due to lack of safe water and sanitation.

Mrl Guterres told the Security Council that such lack of access could likewise spark tensions between regions.

There are 193 UN member states which share rivers or lake basins, where 37 water-related conflicts have taken place since 1947, according to Bolivian President Evo Morales.

“Water, peace and security are inextricably linked,” the UN Secretary General was quoted by Time, and “without effective manage of our water resources, we risk intensified disputes between communities and sectors and increased tensions among nations.”

Further, the UN is ready to negotiate preventive diplomacy to keep the competition from sparking tensions.

He warned that the planet itself and all life forms will face a water crisis that will only get worse in the coming decades.

“If current patterns of consumption continue unabated, two-thirds of the world’s population will be facing water shortages as a daily reality,” added the UN official.

Previously, the World Bank warned that Middle East, Africa and Central Asia will be severely hit by water shortage due to a combination of factors such as climate change, and urban and population growth. MIMS

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