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When Can I turn on the tap?

UNEP hopes that the conference will provide an answer to the question:

"Have the rich, the decision-makers, the large water-users become the "gatekeepers" of the world's water?"

Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP will address this question in his speech at the conference on Monday 3 December 2001.

If the answer to the question is "yes", then those gatekeepers must take responsibility and act to resolve the current crisis of water management and governance. Such action would support and promote sustainable development.

UNEP believes that integrated water resources management is required to ensure:

- Sustainable demand and use of water

- Water supply to all

Water pollution, poor sanitation and water shortages kill over 12 million people every year. Millions are in bad health and trapped in poverty - much of their energy and time wasted in the quest for clean water. The poor of the world are affected most by the crisis. They rely on as little as 10 litres per capita per day to survive while the rich use as much as 250 litres - a basic daily water requirement is defined as being 50 litres per person per day.

Water supply in Africa can be a matter of life and death. A UNEP/Habitat side event at the conference on Tuesday 4th December will focus on water in Africa.

For more information please contact: Tore J Brevik, Spokesman/Director UNEP's Division of Communications and Public Information, on Tel: 254 2 623292, e-mail: tore.brevik@unep.org or Nick Nuttall, UNEP's Head of Media, on Tel: 254 2 623084, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 632755, e-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

UNEP Information Note 01/40