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Source: Department for International Development (2009). Factsheet – Water and Sanitation. UK
The diagram shows that the population in African and Asian regions have no access to improved sanitation.
Improved sanitation usually means passing through a hierarchy of pit latrines, with pour flush latrines and septic tank latrines the plausible options. In urban areas the picture is more mixed. For high-density urban areas sewerage systems have obvious advantages.
Source: UNDP (2006). Human Development Report 2006, p. 113. NY
School pit latrines
Source: Torsten Krekeler (BGR)
School vault latrines
Source: Torsten Krekeler (BGR)
The 'water footprint' of a country is defined as the volume of water needed for the production of goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of the country. The water footprint of a country can be calculated with either the top-down approach or bottom-up approach. In the top-down approach, one calculates the water footprint as the sum of water use in the country, plus gross virtual water import into the country, minus gross virtual water export. In the bottom-up approach, we aggregate the individual water footprints of the inhabitants of a country to get the total water footprint of a country. Individual water footprints are calculated by multiplying all consumed goods and services with their respective virtual water content.
Based on the top-down approach, the global average water footprint is found to be 1240 m3/yr/cap. There are large differences between countries. In the USA the average water footprint is 2500 m3/cap/yr. In China the average water footprint is 700 m3/cap/yr.
Average national water footprint per capita (m3/cap/yr). Green means that the nations' water footprint is equal to or smaller than the global average. Countries with red have a water footprint beyond the global average. Period: 1997-2001.
The figure shows that most expenditure of R&D still takes place within the main OECD regions (with the United States the major location for foreign R&D). Developing countries are increasingly attracting R&D centres, however, although R&D investments remain relatively small from a global perspective. In summary:
Source: UIS Bulletin on Science and Technology Statistics, (2004): Issue No. 1, April 2004. A Decade of Investment in Research and Development (R&D): 1990-2000
The overall public and private investment needs for improved water supply and sanitation and water resources management are considerable. However, at the country level, meeting such investment challenges is highly feasible and within the reach of most nations.
Source: Stockholm International Water Institute, SIWI (2004-2005): "Making Water a Part of Economic Development: The Economic Benefits of Improved Water Management and Services". Stockholm. Sweden
The low cost of rainwater harvesting, together with its decentralisation aspects, enables people at household and community level to manage their own water, thereby reducing reliance on central supply systems which are either absent, unreliable or too expensive.
Besides access to safe water, rainwater harvesting yields numerous environmental, social and economic benefits and can contribute significantly to poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Presence of a rainwater harvesting structure can change this vicious circle through creation of opportunities for health improvement, self-reliance and empowerment. Community centres and schools become more attractive because of the availability of (drinking) water.
Rainwater harvesting has proven to be an attractive alternative water source in areas where other means of water supply have no or very little potential. Of increasing relevance is the solution offered by (rain)water harvesting in protecting vulnerable communities from the expected negative effects of climate change.
Integrated Water Management (IWRM)
The grave risks associated with growing water crisis – illness, hunger, environmental degradation, conflict, stymied economic development – require urgent action in all parts of the world and by all people, from local communities to international bodies. The starting point for action is Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). The IWRM is an ecosystem-based approach that considers the relationship among natural resources systems, biophysical processes, and socio-economic systems and objectives, with a view to integrating them in the management of water resources.
The Key Principles of IWRM are:
Source: UNDP 2004: Water Governance for Poverty Reduction Key Issues and the UNDP Response to Millennium Development Goals – Key Issues and the UNDP Response to Millennium Development Goals. NY)