Water and sanitation; what will deliver the improvements required for urban areas?
Brief of the October 2003 issue of E&U. Around 800 million urban dwellers lack the sustainable access to safe drinking water that the Millennium Development Goals prioritize, and close to 1 billion lack adequate sanitation. This helps explain why Fifteen years of international agency support for privatization has not produced the hoped-for improvements. The increased focus on water stress as being the problem is still often ill-conceived, as inadequacies in provision for water and sanitation have little to do with inadequate freshwater supplies and much to do with inadequate water management. New directions are desperately needed to stop water and sanitation deficits growing in the increasingly urbanized societies of Africa, Asia and Latin America.~There are new approaches based on partnerships between government and communities that work on a large scale yet require modest resources. This Brief gives examples of community-designed, constructed and managed toilet blocks that serve hundreds of thousands of low-income people in Indian cities, and water points and sanitation blocks that have greatly improved provision that are not classified as "water and sanitation" projects