Eleven world leaders are calling on the United Nations to act on rapidly depleting water resources in a new report entitled 'Let Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action.'
The High-Level Water Panel, co-chaired by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, sent the report to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, detailing recommended solutions to address the global water crisis.
As much as 40 percent of the world's population struggle with severe water shortages, while an additional 2 billion people are currently forced to drink unsanitary water, the report states.
In addition, 4,500 lack standard hygienic sanitation facilities, while 700 million are at risk of displacement in the next decade if these issues are not addressed.
After two years of research, it was also determined that there may be a connection to the water returned to the ecosystem and climate change.
Roughly 80 percent of water is recycled back into the environment without first being properly treated and 90 percent of the world's 1,000 natural disasters since 1990 were water-related.
"The world is facing a water crisis: water is a precious resource and one of the greatest threats to economic progress, the eradication of poverty, peace, security and sustainable development," the heads of state wrote in an open letter.
Solid policies, transparent management and innovative ideas are the best ways to enact change, the letter continued.
The report was personally delivered by Rafael Pacchiano, secretary of environment and natural resources, and National Water Commissioner Roberto Ramirez de la Parra on Mexico's behalf.
"Everybody thinks about greenhouse gases, but if someone wants to see what is happening with climate change, we have to look at the water," Ramirez said.
"Mexico is a clear example. We share the border and watershed with the United States, both on the Rio Bravo and the Colorado River."
Pacchiano said: "We are a region extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but there has not been a major coordination effort to design policies to address water scarcity."
Guterres responded by saying that the Water Panel's recommendations would helpprotect water sources and take steps to provide safe drinking water and proper sanitation plans around the globe.
"Water is an essential element of human beings: 60% of our body is composed of water, so it is not an exaggeration to say that water scarcity is a matter of life or death," said Guterres.