Liberia Amongst Countries With Rainfall But Lack Drinking Water

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The UK has experienced the driest start to a summer since records began in 1961, but safe drinking water remains in plentiful supply.

Others around the world are not so fortunate. According to the charity WaterAid, millions of people are going thirsty this year despite high levels of local rainfall.

The organisation has warned that climate change is having a harmful impact by making water sources increasingly unreliable. Increased flooding in some parts of the world has contaminated previously drinkable supplies.

Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia get around double the amount of rain that falls in the UK on average each year, yet at least one-third of the population in those countries is without clean drinking water.

In Papua New Guinea, where rising seas and extreme weather have tainted groundwater sources, the problem has become severe.

The number of people without access to clean water close to home has increased to 4.8 million people – 63 per cent of the population.

“Not having clean water to drink is not, for most people, due to a lack of rain,” says Jonathan Farr, senior policy analyst on water security and climate change.

“For the one in nine people around the world – 844 million – who do not have clean water close to home it is usually because there is not enough investment in systems to ensure rainwater is captured, stored, treated and piped effectively.”

Some countries do still have significant groundwater reserves, but have struggled with a lack of investment in the infrastructure needed to deliver a reliable supply of clean water.

“In 2015, world leaders pledged to bring safe water and toilets to everyone, everywhere by 2030,” said Mr Farr.

“In July, during a high-level meeting in New York, they renewed this promise and now it is time to act.”