Sunday, 13 November 2011

Time to pull the plug on dirty water

WaterAid charity says global efforts
to increase access to clean water
ignore those most in need

Sanitation leads to cleaner, healthier water, leads to less disease and pollution, leads to less medical aid and vibrant self-sustaining communities, leads to better quality of life and a more just society.

We can't be having that can we?

No. We need to give the aid to countries that can afford to improve their own sewerage systems. That way they can use their money to buy goods and services supplied by more developed countries such as those in Europe and the US, to help stimulate the economy. We will probably ask them to use the aid money to buy design and construction services from the donor country. And let's face it: we don't want to be sending our people into countries that don't even have running water, do we?

Looking at it from a more humanitarian perspective, providing clean safe drinking water and good sanitation is a significant step in developing a communities ability to sustain itself. Consider the growth of cities in Britain during the industrial revolution, with rapidly growing population and endemic disease prior to the introduction of water and sewerage systems and compare with sub-Saharan Africa. This region does not have the industry and wealth that goes with it but it does have the growing population competing for the same scarce water resources.

By providing water, we can improve child mortality and life expectancy: both factors which can lead to further population growth, but which coupled with educational programmes and empowerment of women provide a sound basis for stabilising the population levels.

Next Saturday, 19th November, is World Toilet Day which aims to raise awareness of water and sanitation as an issue very for the billion people without proper access. You can also get involved with WaterAID.

Some more facts on water and sanitation here.


  1. I have written to my MP, have you got involved? what action have you taken?

  2. I've had a response from my MP. Apparently he is unable to sign Early Day Motions due to his position in the party, however he has tabled a question for the next DfID Question time. I'll give you an update when I hear more.