Category Archives: Water

2 Billion People Don’t Have Access To Clean Water, Opens up Fissures of Inequality

IPS News
by Roshni Majumdar

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On 9 February 2016 in central Ethiopia, children and women from a semi-pastoralist community wait their turn to fill jerrycans with clean water at a water point in Haro Huba Kebele in Fantale Woreda, in East Shoa Zone, Oromia Region. Credit: © UNICEF/UN011590/Ayene

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 13 2017 (IPS) – More than two billion people lack access to clean and safe drinking water, according to a new report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Although significant progress to ensure access to drinking water has been achieved, there is still a long way to go to ensure its quality—deemed free from pollutants and safe for drinking.

“Clean water and sanitation is central to other outcomes, for example, nutrition among children. While many countries like India have made it a top priority, many others haven’t been able to emphasise the issue yet,” Sanjay Wijesekera, Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene at UNICEF, told IPS.

As many as 400 million people still rely on distant water sources—travelling to and fro from their homes to pick it up. Some 159 million people, according to the report, rely on untreated water from lakes and streams. This puts lives, especially of young children, at great risk.

“Every day, 800 children under the age of five die from waterborne diseases like diarrhoea. In fact, diarrhoea is the second biggest cause of death in the world.” Wijesekera added.

A lack of access to clean drinking water is also bad news for hygiene and sanitary levels. In many countries, open defecation due to the lack of in-house toilets poses a significant challenge.

“The sheer indignity of openly defecating, especially among young girls, takes a toll on other aspects of their lives—such as their poor attendance in school where there aren’t toilets,” Wijesekera explained.

This is especially true in rural areas. While the global drop in open defecation from 20 to 12 percent between 2000 and 2015 is a welcome fact, the rate of decline, at just .7 percent every year, puts pressure on governments to do more. To eliminate open defecation by 2030, for example, the rate of decline has to double.

Still, some countries like Ethiopia have combatted the issue of open defecation successfully.

“In Ethiopia, the percentage has dropped from 80 to 27 percent between 2000 and 2015. Critical building blocks like stronger policies at the government levels and dutiful allocation of funds can go a long way,” Wijesekera said.

These issues—from access to safe drinking water to sanitation supplies—mostly affect the poorest families. For example, Angola, which has performed better than other sub-Saharan African countries and achieved overall basic access to water for its citizens, still shows a gap of 40 percent between people who live in urban and rural areas.

Similarly, Panama’s capital city has achieved universal access to clean drinking water, but other sub regions in the country remain marginalized.

Meanwhile, the report has drawn criticism from other NGOs for being incomplete.

“The report is a good starting point but the current data only reflects 35 percent of the global population across 92 countries. Big countries like China and India have been left out,” Al-Hassan Adam, the international coordinator at End Water Poverty, a coalition organisation that campaigns for water rights and sanitation, told IPS.

“Bigger industries have to do more to protect water resources. In countries like Mexico, water is still contaminated. In other poorer countries, infrastructure to ensure safely managed water is missing in the first place,” he added.

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN strongly focus on reducing inequality between and within countries, and commit member states to “leave no one behind.”

 

Kenya arrests suspects in shooting of conservationist

World News – REUTERS| Mon Apr 24, 2017 | 10:20am EDT

Italian-born conservationist Gallmann poses for a photograph during the Highland Games in Laikipia Kenya
Italian-born conservationist Kuki Gallmann poses for a photograph during the Highland Games in Laikipia, Kenya, September 22, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer.

Kenya has arrested an unspecified number of suspects and recovered a gun linked to the shooting of Italian-born conservationist Kuki Gallmann at her conservation park over the weekend, the interior minister said on Monday.

The 73-year old author of the memoir “I Dreamed of Africa” was shot in the stomach on Sunday in her 100,000-acre (400 square km) ranch and nature conservancy in Laikipia in the north.

Gallmann was recovering in intensive care at a Nairobi hospital, where she underwent a seven-hour operation, after being airlifted from Laikipia, her family said on Monday.

“We have recovered a gun which is now undergoing ballistic tests to confirm whether it was the gun used to shoot Kuki,” Joseph Nkaissery, the interior minister, told a news conference.

He did not say how many suspects the police were holding. He described the attack on Gallmann, who was in a vehicle at the time of the attack, as an “isolated” act of banditry.

A wave of violence has hit Kenya’s drought-stricken Laikipia region in recent months. Armed cattle-herders searching for scarce grazing land have driven tens of thousands of cattle onto private farms and ranches from poor-quality communal land.

At least a dozen civilians and police officers have been killed in the violence.

Kenya dispatched its military to the area last month to help restore calm and disarm communities. The minister said the operation was going as planned.

Many residents of the area accuse local politicians of inciting the violence before elections in August. They say the men are trying to drive out voters who might oppose them and win votes by promising supporters access to private land.

(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Larry King)

World water day: how the poor pay more in west Africa – in pictures

The Guardian

For many people in west Africa, accessing water is a lot more complex than just turning on a tap. While wealthier communities may benefit from a relatively regular supply of clean water and adequate sanitation, people living in poorer areas are rarely connected to the subsidized network and end up paying more for a basic necessity. All photos by Tara Todras-Whitehill for WaterAid.

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For more photos visit

Two-Thirds of the World Faces Severe Water Shortages

New York Times
NICHOLAS ST. FLEUR

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About four billion people, or two-thirds of the world’s population, face severe water shortages during at least one month every year, far more than was previously thought, according to Arjen Y. Hoekstra, a professor of water management at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

In a paper published Friday in the journal Science Advances, Dr. Hoekstra and his colleague Mesfin M. Mekonnen designed a computer model to create what they say is a more accurate picture of water scarcity around the world. Severe water scarcity can lead to crop failure and low crop yields, which could cause food price increases as well as famine and widespread starvation. Continue reading Two-Thirds of the World Faces Severe Water Shortages

4 Billion People at Risk as ‘Water Table Dropping All Over the World’

Common Dreams

Global scarcity of key life source far worse than thought, new study finds
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

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A new analysis reveals that global water scarcity is a far greater problem than previously thought, affecting 4 billion people—two-thirds of the world’s population—and will be “one of the most difficult and important challenges of this century.”

Previous analyses looked at water scarcity at an annual scale, and had found that water scarcity affected between 1.7 and 3.1 billion people. The new study, published Friday in the journal Science Advances, assessed water scarcity on a monthly basis, more fully capturing the specific times of year when it could be an issue. Continue reading 4 Billion People at Risk as ‘Water Table Dropping All Over the World’

When the City Turned Off Their Water, Detroit Residents and Groups Delivered Help

YES Magazine

Grassroots action has backed down the city’s aggressive water shutoffs.  Larry Gabriel

This article appears in Cities Are Now, the Winter 2015 issue of YES! Magazine.

Activists, including actor Mark Ruffalo, union members, and Detroit residents streamed through downtown Detroit on July 18, 2014, protesting the controversial water shutoffs and calling for local democracy and economic justice. Photo from Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
Activists, including actor Mark Ruffalo, union members, and Detroit residents streamed through downtown Detroit on July 18, 2014, protesting the controversial water shutoffs and calling for local democracy and economic justice. Photo from Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

The Detroit water-rights movement really got into gear when Charity Hicks was taken to jail while trying to stop shut-offs on her block. “It started a windstorm of people rising up and speaking out, knowing what was happening regarding the water,” says Detroit poet and activist Tawana Petty. “She was always instrumental in the water struggle but her personal experience brought it home to everyone.”

Petty is referring to the day in April 2014 when Charity Hicks got up about 6 a.m. and found she had no running water. She looked outside and saw the truck from Homrich Wrecking Inc., a water shut-off contractor. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) had been aggressively shutting off water for residential accounts that were reportedly more than 60 days or $150 overdue. Continue reading When the City Turned Off Their Water, Detroit Residents and Groups Delivered Help

Peru Needs to Know More About its Water in Order to Supply More People With the Valuable Resource

Global Issues

By Milagros Salazar

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Technicians from Peru’s national water authority, ANA, inspecting a polluted stretch of river in the department of Huancavelica in south-central Peru. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

LIMA, Jun 10 2014 ([ http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/06/peru-needs-to-know-more-about-its-water-in-order-to-supply-more-people-with-the-valuable-resource/ ]IPS) – Peru urgently needs a national plan for the management of water over the next two decades, one that will take into account the effects of climate change and the social and environmental conflicts triggered by problems over water. In his office surrounded by papers, maps and graphics, Humberto Cruz, an engineer with the national water authority, ANA, told IPS that the country desperately needs a plan to improve the unequal distribution of water and its inefficient use in this South American country.

Cruz and other technicians in ANA spent over a year drawing up a draft plan, which President Ollanta Humala said he would present in March. However, it has not yet been passed by Congress, despite the president’s emphasis of the importance of recognising that access to clean water is a basic right. Continue reading Peru Needs to Know More About its Water in Order to Supply More People With the Valuable Resource