Why Water and Sanitation Systems Are Vital to the Economy – Global Issues


Credit: United Nations Water
  • Opinion Written by Catarina de Albuquerque (Lisbon)
  • Inter Press service
  • The writer is the CEO of the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership

    The United Nations celebrates World Water Day on Monday, 22 March.

However, are governments prioritizing clean water and investing in it? The answer, in far too many parts of the world, is resounding rejection. As an international community, we often overlook the enormous cost of failing to serve so many people with the simplest but crucial services.

Globally, there is still 2.2 billion People do not have access to safe drinking water and 4.2 billion people do not have a safe place to go to the toilet. Access to all of these people’s needs three times Current investment levels, according to World Bank – To face the size of the challenge. However, this is not a call to charity, this is a wake-up call.

The current global water and sanitation crisis is a story of massive, rapidly growing, and unmet demand leading to enormous and rapidly increasing costs. Achieving SDG 6 – water and sanitation for all by 2030 – is not a burden but an enormous opportunity.

To find concrete solutions to the financing gap, partnership Sanitation and water for all – A global platform for achieving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) goals – works with finance ministers around the world to focus on the opportunity for economic growth and sustainable development, through the expansion of water and sanitation services.

With appropriate level of investment, can include discretionary benefits 1.5% Growth in GDP, and Yield $ 4.30 For every dollar invested. This is because of the potential for lower healthcare costs and the potential for increased productivity. This is the rate of return any investor would want.

The benefits of investing are clear and the examples abound. In 1961, only 17% of South Korea’s population had access to basic drinking water, but by 2012, the water coverage rate was 98% – a remarkable shift. High-level political leadership was essential, as part of a broader push toward nation-building, shared prosperity, and modernity.

The cost of not investing

Affordable, reliable, and easily accessible water and sanitation services are prevented In thousands Of children with preventable diseases, such as diarrhea and cholera. Healthy children properly absorb nutrients, develop stronger brains and bodies, have better school results, and end up making a fuller contribution to society. And we’ve seen how quickly a pandemic like COVID-19 can spread when people cannot wash their hands with soap and water.

Without further investment, girls and women are forced to continue the hard, time-consuming work of fetching water, being insulted and risky of going to the toilet in the fields and streets. Water and sanitation services in schools and workplaces have the potential to ensure that girls and women are able to manage their personal hygiene without missing out on the opportunity to obtain an education or earn an income.

Sufficient investment would reduce the burden of disease and epidemic risks, and slow down fast-moving killers such as cholera. Improving hygiene – through soap and water – is critical in combating COVID-19, for example. distance One in four – 24% – of health care facilities lack basic water services, one in ten – 10% – does not have sanitation service, and one in three – 32% – lack hand hygiene facilities at the point of care. The data showed that even when adequate WASH facilities are in place, health care workers can be on the front lines 12 times People in the general community are more likely to have a positive COVID-19 test result.

Unless more investment is made, the productivity level of the workforce will be determined. appreciate Three out of four positions That makes up the global workforce is either heavily or moderately dependent on water. However, access to water and sanitation can also save time that can be spent collecting water. The United Nations Water Committee estimates that improved sanitation gives every additional household 1000 hours a year For work, study, childcare, etc. Women’s productivity is particularly affected, as she is the caregiver, manager, and main user of water.

The bottom line is that economic growth depends on improved educational attainment and sanitation – two things that are impossible without access to water.

The role of financial decision-makers

None of this is news. From the early days of the Industrial Revolution, we have known the transformative economic and social benefits of getting water, and the dreadful consequences of inaction.

If governments fail to help prioritize water and sanitation, the consequences could affect societies for generations. Financial decision-makers must create an enabling environment by investing in institutions and individuals, and by mobilizing new sources of financing, such as taxes, tariffs, transfers, or reimbursable financing.

Ultimately, well-resourced and well-managed water systems are catalysts for progress in every sector from gender, food and education to health, industry and the environment.

Governments must use evidence to make smart decisions that help their countries thrive. In the case of water and sanitation, the evidence is clear: continuing neglect of these services will only impede the growth of our economies, our populations and our societies.

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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service


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