UN says minimal investment needed

Report calls for help to improve water resources

UNITED NATIONS (UPI) | August 26, 2011

A minimal global investment could reduce water scarcity and halve the number of people without access to safe drinking water worldwide, a U.N. report says.

The U.N. Environment Program study said an annual investment of $198 billion, or just 0.16 percent of global gross domestic product, could vastly improve the quality of drinking water and basic sanitation globally in just four years.

Such an investment in the water sector could strengthen local water supply systems, conserve ecosystems critical for water supply and develop more effective policies to help avert the high social and economic costs resulting from inadequate water supplies, a U.N. release said Thursday.

As countries become wealthier and more populous, industrial demand for water is expected to increase, and improving the efficiency and sustainability of water use is vital if the world's burgeoning energy demands are to be met, the UNEP said.

The water chapter of UNEP's Green Economy Report was released during a World Water Week conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

Copyright 2011 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

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