The analysis warns that microbial and chemical contamination of water and other new threats are emerging from pharmaceuticals in drinking water to exposure to avian influenza brought by wild birds inhabiting wetlands.
The "toolbox" idea would involve "a virtual library and database of educational materials, technologies, governance, models, etc. would facilitate information exchange of both established and innovative tools."
"We need greater investment in the development of models to aid decision-making, reduce uncertainty and augment costly monitoring programmes," says Dr. Corinne Wallace, a leading water-health researcher at UNU-INWEH. "Combining these efforts with a vulnerability map for water-associated diseases can form the basis for evidence-based policy development," she adds.
As well, "validated models need to be developed that will predict the impact of climate change on water and wastewater infrastructure, water availability, water quality and waterborne / water-associated diseases."
The results can be used for policy development, intervention, adaptation and mitigation purposes as well as the effect on achieving MDGs and global migration patterns.
Diseases due to poor water, sanitation and hygiene account for an estimated 10% of the total global burden of illness.
An investment by developed countries estimated at US 4c per capita per day would allow the developing world to reach the UN's Millennium Development Goal for water and sanitation by 2015.
Simply improving domestic water supply, sanitation and hand washing with soap can reduce illness rates by more than 25%.
Globally, almost 900 million people lack access to safe water supplies and 2.5 billion people live without access to improved sanitation, at least 80% of whom live in rural areas.
|Contact: Terry Collins|
United Nations University