“As World Water Week kicks off, UNICEF says that despite tremendous progress in the last two decades in bringing access to improved drinking water sources to billions of people, finishing the task is not going to be easy.
“There have been outstanding gains in every region of the world,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, head of UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene programmes. “However, the job is not done until every single person every day can get sufficient drinking water from a reliable source – and unfortunately the most difficult part is ahead.”
“Wijesekera cited a report, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012, released earlier this year by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, which says that between 1990 and 2010 more than 2 billion people have gained access to improved sources of drinking water such as piped supplies, or protected wells. The report says the world reached the Millennium Development Goal on drinking water in 2010, five years ahead of schedule, but that 783 million people are still without access.
“According to the report, those still without access are the hardest to reach, being largely the poorest people in urban slums or deep rural areas.
“UNICEF says the most important step in providing universal access will be to address the inequities which exist in all regions and at all levels and where the poorest and women are most affected.”
Read more: All Africa
“The Liberian government submitted information to the World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program that estimated 8 percent of households in urban areas have piped water and 88 percent have access to an improved water source. Living in the heart of the the Liberian capital, civilian Eugene Seoh should be one of the few Liberians who do have piped water. He does not.
“Theophilus Addey, the acting deputy national coordinator of the Liberia Reconstruction Development Committee, said these figures are just a guide for the government.
“Not only the numbers are questionable; the government is also making suspect claims about specific water access projects. The managing director of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, Nortu Jappah, said in an interview in November that he and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had recently opened a water main to serve the string of neighborhoods along Somalia Drive. The area has not had piped water for more than two decades.
“Access to sanitation is very low — just 25 percent as of 2008, according to World Bank statistics. Civil society groups in Liberia argue that the current water situation is actually not much improved.
“In 2008, the Liberian government launched the Poverty Reduction Strategy, or PRS, to chart the nation’s course to development. Among other goals, the plan promised that access to water would double in four years.
Since then, little has been done to replace old infrastructure damaged during Liberia’s civil war, according to Silas Siakor, director of the Sustainable Development Initiative Liberia.”
Read More: PBS
Retrieved from: World resources forum
“More than 2 billion people have gained access to better drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells, between 1990 and 2010, U.N. officials said on Tuesday.
“The figure means the world has met the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve the proportion of people with no safe drinking water well ahead of a 2015 deadline, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this was “a great achievement for the people of the world” and noted it was one of the first MDGs to be met.
“The Millennium Development Goals are a group of targets set by the international community in 2000 to seek to improve health and reduce poverty among the world’s poorest people by 2015.
“Better water, sanitation and hygiene are key to improving human health and development,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. “Today, even with this exciting new progress, almost 10 percent of all diseases are still linked to poor water, sanitation and hygiene.”
“The report said there were still huge challenges in certain parts of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, where only 61 percent of people have access to improved water supplies compared with 90 percent or more in Latin America and the Caribbean, Northern Africa and large parts of Asia.
“It also said some 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open because they have no toilets, and the vast majority of them live in rural areas.”
Read more: Reuters
“The internationally stated goal of improving access to safe drinking water across the globe is likely to be achieved well ahead of the 2015 deadline, but large numbers of people in the world’s least developed regions will still not benefit, according to a U.N. report released Wednesday.Reducing the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by half is one of the global targets under the internationally-agreed poverty and social development vision known as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which have a 2015 achievement deadline.
“The new study by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UN World Health Organization (WHO),entitled Drinking Water Equity, Safety and Sustainability, shows that between 1990 and 2008, the proportion of the world’s population with access to improved drinking water sources increased from 77 per cent to 87 per cent.
“Globally, more than eight in 10 people without improved drinking water sources live in rural areas. “The good news is that almost 1.8 billion more people now have access to drinking water compared to the start of the 1990s,”said Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF’s associate director and water and sanitation chief. “The bad news is that the poorest and most marginalized are being left behind.” However, the report stresses, even though significant progress has been made, at the current rate, 672 million people will still not be using improved drinking water sources in 2015. There are still many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, Eastern Asia and South-East Asia that are not on track to meet the target, according to the report.”
An Indian woman fills a pot with drinking water in Mumbai. Photo retrieved from: www.telegraph.co.uk
“Time and distance are at least as important as cost. According to the WHO/UNICEF report, if people face a round trip of more than 30 minutes or have to make more than one trip to collect water, they “progressively collect less water, and eventually fail to meet their families’ minimum daily drinking-water needs.”
Fighting for a prime-time slot
The expansion of water availability has been most successful in large urban areas of the global South. Among the beneficiaries have been the residents of Kadam Chawl (“Footsteps Slum”), a short row of tiny homes clinging to a narrow terrace on a hillside in the northern part of Mumbai, India’s largest city.
In a city like Mumbai, where the total available water supply is barely sufficient to fill the needs of the population, a community of ordinary people won’t get its fair share without first fighting for it and then working hard, day by day, to keep the flow coming.”
Read more: AlterNet
“Tharparker District in Sindh Province, southern Pakistan, is among the most arid regions in the country. Limited rainfall, brackish underground water and the private ownership of wells by an elite minority have made access to potable water very difficult for much of the district’s 900,000 mostly rural inhabitants.
“However, an innovative project by local NGO Thardeep Rural Development Programme (TRDP) in conjunction with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Sindh is helping alleviate Tharparker’s drought problems.”
read more: AlterNet