Service delivery of water

Workshop: Using the Human rights-based approach to provide water for the people that are being left behind

  • Policy Maker
  • Researcher/Scientist
  • Citizens

According to World Bank data[i], the world population is 7.75 billion people and growing with a projection to reach 11 billion people by 2100. Currently, 2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water, including 800 million without basic drinking water services. According to United Nations Water, an estimated 3.6 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation, while an estimated 2.3 billion people lack access to basic handwashing facilities. Access to quality safe water is imperative for the health and well-being of inhabitants of the different countries in the world, therefore, organisations, institutions and governments responsible for water service delivery need to improve access to water, through the delivery of quality services, to better the lives of their respective citizens. The right to water enables other human rights. When the United Nations General Assembly formally accepted access to sufficient, safe water for personal and domestic purposes as a human right in 2010, it further recognised this right as underpinning the realisation of all other human rights.

Water service delivery has been extremely challenging in developing countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Malawi, Bolivia (Obosi, 2019). Even in countries that have adopted and formalised the human right to water in policy and practice, communities often experience water shortages, water disruptions and lack to access to quality water. Water service delivery is often taken up by municipalities of local governments who becomes responsible for providing the infrastructure and quality safe water. However, in certain places in the world civil societies and non-government organisations seem to be taking up the challenge of ensuring quality service delivery of water to themselves/communities. The diverse range of experience around the world leads to the question of whether there is more that could be done to use human rights-based approaches to reach those who continue to struggle to access water.

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