A new report on the global water crisis calls for a fundamental shift in the way the world manages water.

The report, Making Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action, has been compiled by the United Nations-World Bank High Level Panel on Water, which consists of 11 heads of state and a special advisor.

It says 40% of the world’s population is being affected by water scarcity.

The panel adds that, with 700 million people worldwide at risk of being displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030, water infrastructure investment must be at least doubled over the next five years.

The report says more than two billion people are compelled to drink unsafe water and more than 4.5 billion do not have safely managed sanitation services.

It says women and girls suffer disproportionately when water and sanitation are lacking, affecting health and often restricting work and education opportunities.

The report also points out that water-related disasters account for 90% of the 1,000 most devastating natural disasters since 1990.

On receiving the report, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said it is his "deep belief that water is a matter of life and death."

He reiterated that water "must be an absolute priority in everything we do."

In an open letter, the report’s authors conclude: "Whoever you are, whatever you do, wherever you live, we urge you get involved, and contribute to meeting this great challenge: safe water and sanitation for all, and our water resources managed sustainably.

"Make every drop count. It’s time for action."