#6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal-6Human demands on the world’s available water supplies continue to grow due to rapid population growth, urbanization and industrialization. In the endeavour to manage water to meet human needs, greater demand for increasing smaller supply of water resources in the country and the ecological consequences have been tragic. If we hope to sustain water biodiversity, the appropriation of water flows must be better managed in order to ensure a wealth of goods and services for society in healthy water ecosystems.

To protect the ecological integrity of affected ecosystems, ecologically sustainable water management must occur in order to meet intergenerational human needs. Ecological integrity is protected when the compositional and structural diversity and natural functioning of affected ecosystems is maintained.

Of the present water usage in the country, majority is consumed in agriculture (70-90%), and the remaining is consumed in industrial activities and for domestic purposes like drinking water and sanitation. According to World Health Organization (WHO), sanitation generally refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and faeces. Inadequate sanitation is a major cause of disease world-wide and improving sanitation is known to have a significant beneficial impact on health both in households and across communities. The word ‘sanitation’ also refers to the maintenance of hygienic conditions, through services such as garbage collection and wastewater disposal.

voda1There is a strong relationship between wealth, as measured by household assets, and use of improved water sources and sanitation. For example, hygiene interventions such as encouragement of specific behaviours like hand washing, hygiene and health education are needed to ensure wealth. Sanitation, water supply and water quality interventions also can be used to achieve universal access to a basic drinking water source but we need to aware that it requires a substantial acceleration in the pace of change. The targets go further to address “unfinished business”, including the shortfall in progress on sanitation as well as ensuring access for the hardest-to-reach people. Overall, water quality interventions (point-of-use water treatment) were found to be more effective than previously thought, and multiple interventions (consisting of combined water, sanitation, and hygiene measures) were not more effective than interventions with a single focus.

Besides, strong correlation exists between where people live and their level of access to improved drinking water sources and sanitation in terms of open defecation equity tree. Improved services have continued to be disproportionately more accessible to more advantaged populations. Access to water and sanitation is nearly always higher in urban than in rural settings, except for countries that have achieved universal coverage. By calculating the gap in coverage between urban and rural areas and tracking this gap over time, it becomes clear that urban-rural gaps are decreasing in a majority of countries.voda2

Urban populations tend to have better access to better water supply and sanitation compared with rural populations. However, there are also often striking intra-urban disparities in access. Those living in low income, informal or illegal settlements tend to have lower levels of access to an improved water supply. Thus, innovative approaches such as pay-as-you-go services offered at water kiosks or public water points as an intermediate step towards a higher level of service are required to improve coverage in informal urban settlements. Increased access and better services lead to higher levels of school achievement and improved economic productivity.

Nevertheless, too many people do not have these basic human rights till there is higher reliance on water kiosks in the informal settlements and less access to piped supplies on premises. Informal settlements themselves are far from homogeneous; almost a third of those who are better off in the informal settlements have a piped water supply on premises, whereas the poorest are twice as likely as the richest to rely on water kiosks.

voda3Even though progress towards the millennium development goal (MDG) target represents important gains in access for billions of people around the world, it has been uneven. Sharp geographic, socio-cultural and economic inequalities in access persist and sometimes have increased. There is an unequal progress among marginalized and vulnerable groups. High level of malnutrition, poverty and large disparities between the rich and the poor may even lead to diarrhoeal disease that causes morbidity and mortality in less developed countries, especially among the children aged less than 5 years old. Also, there are strong gender impacts like lack of safe, private toilets makes women and girls vulnerable to violence and is an impediment to girls’ education. Degradation of water quality can be a main concern too as it creates water scarcity and limits its availability for human use and ecosystem and thereby impacts the optimum management of water resources.

To ensure safely managed sanitation services, global monitoring must provide to both household and community levels. Households can provide information on the types of sanitation facilities they use, as well as any treatment and reuse of excreta they undertake. In communities where excreta are transported away from households, information is required from service providers and regulatory institutions regarding the transport, treatment and discharge of wastes into the environment.

Safely managed drinking water services is also essential as it delivers water that can meet domestic needs and does not represent a significant risk to health. This implies a system that delivers water to the household or plot and includes measures to prevent risks and to verify water quality.

In general, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are important for health, welfare and livelihoods.

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Amanda Yeo

Yeo Yan Yin (Amanda), born in 1993 in Malaysia, is currently an Economics and Finance undergraduate under University of London, lead college: London School of Economics and Political Science. She has a good overseas experience with summer school and corporate trips. Besides, she is passionate in learning and would like to continue the summer school research on social sustainability between UK and Malaysia few years later. Quantitative analysis or public policy research is her interest currently.
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About Amanda Yeo

Yeo Yan Yin (Amanda), born in 1993 in Malaysia, is currently an Economics and Finance undergraduate under University of London, lead college: London School of Economics and Political Science. She has a good overseas experience with summer school and corporate trips. Besides, she is passionate in learning and would like to continue the summer school research on social sustainability between UK and Malaysia few years later. Quantitative analysis or public policy research is her interest currently.

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