September 16, 2019
 In Articles

United Nations Environmental Programme

Access to Water

Portugese Republic 

Rachel Verbrugge


Everyday millions of people around the world are suffering from dangerously low quality sanitation and water. The United Nations Environmental Programme has created a set of in 2015 called sustainable development goals to accomplish by the year 2030, and one of these goals includes “ensuring access to water and sanitation for all.” The United Nations has found that currently, throughout the world, three out of ten people lack clean water, and six out of ten people lack sanitation. In addition to unsanitary water, another problem with access to water is that some countries struggle to find sources of water. There is competition among countries for resources which may result in limited water. Obviously, there is a large amount of work to be done to bring these numbers up, and accomplish the goal of 100% access to water. As a result to bringing clean water and sanitation to everyone, several other global issues may improve. Gender equality is a worldwide issue surrounding this topic because girls are the ones to fetch water miles and miles away from their home, and this compromises their education. Additionally, the UNEP found that the leading cause of death for children under five is diseases from bad water. Access to water would greatly increase in the United Nations could come to a solution in order to resolve the fatal issue of bad water quality, and bring good water and sanitation to all.


 In 1996, the percent of people without access to water was 5%, and as a result of the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations, Portugal has been working to improve this number and currently 100% of the people in portugal have access to clean water. Legislation passed by the Portugese government called The Water Law help distribute water to the entire country and surrounding countries. The Law states, “all surface water is publicly owned, and in times of scarcity the public water supply has first priority and then to the vital activities of livestock and agro-industrial sectors”. Additionally, the Law of Water Resources has goals to preserve water and reduce the amount of water resources used for activities that require a significant amount of water. For example, licences are needed for farming equipment, and large scale water electricity in factories. Failing to comply with the regulations results in a heavy fine. Portugal has not yet done anything to address the issue of access to water on an international level yet, but has plans to bring it up with the UNEP and make change for the whole world.


Portugal Suggests that other all other countries adopt the same laws that portugal has in order to distribute water fairly. Portugal has an abundance of water from rivers like The Tagus River, Douro River, Guadiana River, Minho River bring plenty amounts of clean water to the citizens of Portugal. Something needs to be done to protect the precious water. Portugal proposes that all countries with good access to water and sanitation set regulations on how people are allowed to treat water. For example, more water would be protected if fewer boats were traveling and emitting oil into the rivers. Portugal is also apart of the European Union, so the country will cooperate with other EU countries in order to improve access to water in other nations.


  • Rachel Verbrugge