As growing urban populations and climate change put pressure on water resources, water needs to be better managed so that everyone in a city – from the richest to the poorest – has access to safe water.
By increasing the amount of water in a city’s pipe network, WSUP is able to ensure that greater quantities of safe water can be accessed by low-income communities. One significant way in which we have been able to do this is by helping utilities to reduce non-revenue water – losses caused by theft, leakage and poor payments collection.
Poor sanitation in low-income communities not only impacts the health of people living in that area – it makes an entire city sick, contaminating rivers, impacting on food produced in peri-urban areas and threatening safe water supplies. In areas that lack sewers, a different approach is called for.
There is a need to identify affordable ways in which low-income communities can access toilets and get their tanks and pits emptied, so that the waste can be treated and disposed of, or recycled. In some communities, it is important to change centuries-old practices in order to eliminate open defecation and increase safe usage of toilets.
As WSUP works to improve the provision of water and sanitation facilities, it is important to also focus on health and hygiene communication so that waterborne communicable diseases can be either prevented or controlled.
This involves increasing understanding of the health benefits of safe water and human waste management, as well as promoting hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing with soap, maintenance of sanitation facilities, good food handling and catering for specific needs like menstrual hygiene management.
But this is not just about working with communities. It is also about changing practices within institutions, so that investments can make the strongest possible contribution to improved health and wellbeing.
Water is now closer and cheaper.