The U.N. Environmental Program in its "Green Economy Report" released during the World Water Week conference in Stockholm said wiser management and more investments could drastically reduce water scarcity in the world.
The UNEP report found that investing 0.16 percent of the global gross domestic product -- around $198 billion -- could reduce the number of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in half in less than four years.
"The green economy report shows how accelerated investment in water-dependent ecosystems, water infrastructure and water management, coupled with effective policies, can boost water and food security, improve human health and promote economic growth," UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a statement.
The report adds that developing countries like Vietnam and the Philippines lose about 2 percent of their GDP, or around $9 billion, because of problems tied to poor sanitation. Agricultural practices accounts for more than 70 percent of global freshwater use.