Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 02/12/2014 -- The lack of water in Brazil was the theme of the second seminar on " Challenges of Sanitation for All," organized last November by the Water, Sewage and Environment Workers Union of Espírito Santo state (Sindaema) at the Instituto Federal do Espirito Santo (IFES) in Victoria, Brazil.

During the event that attracted all major local stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector, UN-Habitat representative Rayne Ferretti stressed that access to water and sanitation is a fundamental human right. "There are 768 million people worldwide who lack access to water and over 2.5 billion people without access to basic sanitation. There are almost 700,000 children under 5 who die each year and others who have diseases resulting the lack of sanitation or clean water," she said.

Ferretti also emphasized the importance of participatory territorial planning to guarantee effective actions. “Access to water is a fundamental human right. The public managers must guarantee this right to people, especially for the vulnerable groups such as women, children, the disabled and refugees. It is necessary to share information, prioritize public policies and implement action plans for water and sanitation services to reach the whole population,” said Ferretti.

Commenting on the looming water crisis in São Paulo, she added “it's a situation that can be reversed, starting with actions aimed at curbing waste because almost 40 percent of all water never gets distributed due to damaged infrastructure resulting in spillage.”

Learn more about water and sanitation.