Achieving universal access to clean water and sanitation in an era of water scarcity: strengthening contributions from academia

Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 34, October 2018, Pages 21-25.
Cecilia Tortajada and Asit K. Biswas


As the Millennium Development Goals did earlier, the Sustainable Development Goals have mobilised the international community into what can be the most important, although the most challenging, development goals of the 21st century. However, a main limitation has been that the SDGs considered as a baseline the inaccurate figures that were presented by the UN at the end of the MDGs. These figures were not challenged, not even by the academic community, who in many cases has used them uncritically. As a result, innovative proposals that would improve management of water resources in general and of water supply, sanitation and wastewater management in particular did not emerge, with the consequent negative health and environmental impacts for billions of people globally.