This has been one of the main subjects of the 6th World Water Forum, “Time for Solutions”, held in Marseille, France, last March. Ensuring that sufficient financing is mobilised in order to reach ambitious targets and objectives for the water sector is absolutely critical. In many countries, the investments needed to deliver sustainable water and sanitation services, expand their coverage and upgrade service delivery to meet current social and environmental expectations, are huge.
Throughout the world, the challenges of providing access to safe water and sanitation are further accentuated by increasing demands from other water uses due to factors such as population increase, pressures to increase food production, rapid urbanisation, degradation of water quality, and increasing uncertainty about water availability in the context of climate change.
Addressing these challenges will require both large capital investments for new or upgraded infrastructure, on-going investments in operations and maintenance and funding of critical “soft” activities, such as governance reforms or capacity building.
The benefits from such investments for society are substantial. Yet, most systems are underfunded with dire consequences for water and sanitation users, especially the poorest.