Shortages, poor water quality and a lack of financing are just some of the numerous challenges of this year's World Water forum in Dakar.
The 9th forum kicked off on Monday as delegations from all over the world gathered to discuss the theme of "Water security for peace and development".
Citing a UN report, Senegalese president Sall reminded his guests water is a major challenge for the 21st century.
"There is every reason to believe that if nothing is done, the situation will get worse and worse, due in particular to strong demographic pressure, rapid urbanization and polluting industrial activities. This 9th World Water Forum gives us the opportunity to sound the alarm on the gravity of the situation, so that water issues remain at the heart of the international agenda."
Coastal countries leaders like Bissau Guinean President Embalo stressed the particular fate of African countries highly dependent on the ressource. In the world, 2 in 5 adults already live in regions where access to water is scarce. To reduce this number, the president of the Water council suggested a profound behavior change.
"Technology and the contribution of digital technology will not be enough, Loic Fauchon started. We must certainly innovate, innovate again, innovate always, pump, transfer, desalinate, recycle, and increase the amount of water available. But we also need to change our habits and behaviors, and only then will we be able to share water for people and water for nature."
The Senegalese president received during the opening ceremony a report on the potential of groundwater from Audrez Azouley, the Unesco Director-General. Groundwater accounts for 99% of liquid freshwater on Earth and is an unsuspected resource.
During the six-day forum, world leaders will look for solutions to ensure water access to all.