For the first time, more than half of the world's population has water piped into their homes, according to a United Nations report released Thursday. This accomplishment was hailed as a "stunning success" by a senior World Health Organization official.
The report assessing global progress in providing clean water and basic sanitation found that the world was on target for meeting the 2015 Millennium Development Goals regarding access to clean water. Released jointly by the WHO and UNICEF, the report found that 83 percent of the world's population in 2002 had access to water in their homes or could get it within a 30-minute walk up from 77 percent in 1990. The goal is to reach 88.5 percent by 2015.
"The fact we've got so many people on the planet who actually have water at home is a stunning success," said Jamie Bartram, coordinator of water, sanitation and health at the WHO.
However, the progress was uneven. About 1.1 billion people in developing countries still have no access to safe water, and 42 percent of them live in sub-Saharan Africa.