World Bank and WaterA report released on World Water Day [q.v. Comments 22 Mar] by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group points out that nearly one third of approved projects since 1997 have been related to water: mostly irrigation, storage dams and hydropower. But the report also states that: "The Bank and the countries have not yet sufficiently tackled several tough but vital issues, among them sanitation, fighting pollution, restoring degraded aquatic environments, monitoring and data collection, and cost recovery." It notes that there is water supply stress on about 700 million people in 43 countries, but there has been "no apparent correlation between a country's water stress and Bank lending for water to that country." The Bank has said in reply that it responds to priorities set by country governments and that countries with the most severe water problems have received the most financing. Nonetheless, it was seeking ways to close the water resource gap in countries.