Access to safe, clean drinking water and sanitation is a basic human right. Globally, wide ranging successes and reforms has been achieved in making this a reality, including the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 6 seeks to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Despite the progress, available statistics from UN agencies shows that 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services. Additionally, water scarcity affects four out of every 10 people. In light of the projected increase in the frequency and intensity of disasters associated with climate change – combined with a host of social and economic factors – it is anticipated that the number of our neighbors facing water scarcity worldwide will definitely increase.
We are already seeing intensified competition over scarce water resources in some parts of Africa. This has profoundly compromised pastoralism and small scale agriculture as a forms of rural livelihoods. Vulnerable populations have been further exposed to a vicious cycle of famine, endemic conflicts and severe poverty. These groups will be in need of humanitarian assistance for decades or, in some areas, generations to come.
In the drylands of East Africa, though, water scarcity no longer seems to be an impediment to development for communities participating in the CWS Water for Life program. Instead, it serves as an inspiration. Communities have invented innovative solutions that are progressively transforming communities.
[Church World Service]