Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in, and there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. However, due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, millions of people including children die every year from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.
Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. At the current time, more than 2 billion people are living with the risk of reduced access to freshwater resources and by 2050, at least one in four people are likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water. Drought in specific afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries, worsening hunger and malnutrition. Fortunately, there has been great progress made in the past decade regarding drinking sources and sanitation, whereby over 90% of the world’s population now has access to improved sources of drinking water.
To improve sanitation and access to drinking water, there needs to be increased investment in management of freshwater ecosystems and sanitation facilities on a local level in several developing countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Southern Asia, Eastern Asia and South-Eastern Asia.
THIS GOAL AND ARCHITECTURE
To take advantage of rainfall where clean water is scarce, buildings and urban areas must be designed so that rainwater can be collected, purified and used as drinking water.
In areas where rainwater does not need to be collected for drinking water, buildings and urban areas must be designed so that rainwater can enter the groundwater without being mixed with wastewater or being polluted in other ways. As for sanitation, buildings, services, sewage systems and infrastructure, all must be planned and designed to keep bacteria and contaminated water separate from clean water and out of contact with citizens. A key part of this is to ensure access to toilet facilities that are designed to handle the waste produced. Building materials that do not contribute to groundwater contamination should be favoured, whether during extraction, construction or in use.
Furthermore, urban areas, settlements and buildings must be designed to withstand climate change related to water, such as increasingly extreme precipitation, drought and floods. Landscape architecture and urban planning must protect freshwater resources through conservation projects and the design of recreational areas that protect, collect and handle water.
Examples of this are found in water-handling features at building level, in climate adaptation projects on an urban scale and communal toilets for slum areas.