Tuesday, August 18, 2009

'Water for astronauts, not for slum dwellers'

Thalif Deen in IPS: "We can provide astronauts with a safe supply of drinking water when they travel to the moon, but we cannot provide the same service to slum dwellers in Kibera, Nairobi or Dharavi, Mumbai," Anders Berntell, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), told a gathering of over 2,400 participants at the annual World Water Week concluding Friday.

Pointing out the inequities and disparities in the supply and distribution of water worldwide, Berntell said the international community needs to find solutions that give the poorer segments of societies access to these services, while at the same time ensuring that the institutions that deliver those services are economically viable.

The annual World Water Week, attended by scientists, government policy makers, private sector representatives, international organisations, donors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), attracts the largest number of water experts to gather under one roof. The theme of this year's conference is 'Accessing Water for the Common Good'.

"We are convinced that water is something that strongly contributes to the social and economic development of people and countries," Berntell said, "And reducing people's access to water will seriously affect the functions of our society."…

A venerable drinking fountain in Clermont-Ferrand, France, shot by Pfctdayelise, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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