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Statistics about lack of safe water and sanitation offer the most acute reflection of the failure of the modern world to distribute the rewards of new technologies. Over one billion people lack access to safe water and over two billion live without proper sanitation. Water-related diseases result in over five million deaths annually, of whom most are children.

Water and Poverty

In the developed world, it is easily forgotten that water is not only key to human life but also to local economies. People know that "time is money" but fail to appreciate the implications for so many countries where women and children spend hours collecting essential daily supplies of water. Time that could instead be utilized for income generation, and formal and non-formal education especially for female children. Also forgotten is the humiliation of lack of privacy for bathing and defecation, and the severe health problems caused by unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation and hygiene practice.

Successful projects for provision of safe water and sanitation unquestionably deliver not only improved quality of community health, but also capacity for women's livelihoods and children's education. There is no doubt that provision of adequate water and sanitation must be integral to alleviation of global poverty.

In common with other essentials to human life and human rights, scarcity of resource is not the main issue and the solution has more to do with political will.

From: Oneworld.net Topic Guides: Water and Sanitation


Water Privatization

  • Oneworld.net Subject Guide: Water Privatization
  • Americas.org News: Water Privatization in the Western Hemisphere

Water Wars

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