Study Reveals Immense Importance Of ‘invisible’ Water To Urban Poor
The study estimates that almost
a third of urban households in sub-Saharan Africa
and South and Southeast Asia rely on groundwater from local wells,
and the share is considerably higher among poorer households.
This study was carried out by the International Institute for Environment and Development and shows that hundreds of millions of urban people in such countries already depend on this hidden resource.
It warns that policymakers, donors and others have neglected poor people’s dependence on wells, and it urges action to ensure that people can use groundwater in a safe and sustainable way.
“The policy trend is to promote the use of piped water but as our research shows, large proportions of urban populations are not served and must supply themselves with groundwater from wells,” says co-author Dr Jenny Grönwall. “Unfortunately most official statistics, including those that measure progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goal on water, fail to acknowledge the value of different kinds of wells.”
Grönwall adds: “It is critical that the neglect of this resource ends, as research suggests that climate change will make groundwater increase in importance in large parts of the world, not least in the urban areas of developing nations.”
The researchers say that, overall, a greater availability of well-water can be better for people’s health as it promotes good hygiene, and not all water used must be of potable standard.