- Despite improvements in clean water supply, U.N. says sanitation still "lagging far behind"
- One child dies every 20 seconds because of poor water sanitation according to the U.N.
- New water monitoring techniques using mobile phones can speed up maintenance and save lives
The recent announcement by the United Nations that 89% of the world's population (6.1 billion people) now has "sustainable access to safe drinking water" was described by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as a "great achievement for the people of the world."
Meeting part of the target of one of the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ahead of the 2015 deadline was "a testament to all those who see (them) not as a dream, but as a vital tool," he added.
But the goal of universal access to clean water is far from complete says Stef Smits, program officer for IRC International Water and Sanitation Center.
"Reaching the last 10% of the population -- those living in remote rural areas and on the fringes of big cities -- will become increasingly difficult and expensive," Smits said.
Furthermore, he says, the MDGs on basic sanitation are unlikely to be met before 2025.
It's an area which the U.N. concedes is "lagging far behind" the millennium commitments, with 2.5 billion people (including one billion children) still exposed to poor sanitation and