Water resources management is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century. It affects all aspects of daily life and has significant implications for the environment, food security and energy provision. Today, two billion people live in countries with absolute water scarcity.
In 2011, almost 770 million people were without access to an improved source of drinking water, a situation that kills 4,000 children every year and causes economic losses of up to 7% of GDP. The sanitation issue is equally grave. With some 2.5 billion people lacking access to improved sanitation facilities, waterborne diseases remain a serious public health problem, especially in overcrowded cities.
On a cumulative basis, OFID’s contribution to the water supply and sanitation sector reached US$917.6m as of year-end 2013, representing 6% of total commitments. These resources have supported a wide range of operations, from large-scale water storage, treatment and distribution projects to village pumps and school latrines, as well as to schemes for the rationalization of water use in arid regions.
In 2013, OFID provided US$173.9m to help enhance water supply and sanitation services across the developing world. This represents a five-fold increase over 2012 and reflects the enhanced focus on the sector as part of the strategically critical water-food-energy nexus.
The majority of the loans supported public sector projects, the bulk of it (69.1%) to the LAC region for the following projects and programs:
Grant financing accounted for US$2.3m of commitments to the sector and supported a variety of grassroots initiatives.