Access to fresh drinking water

In our article ’10 World Water Facts of 2015′ we got a comment with this question: 

With 663 million left who are relying on unimproved water resources, I am wondering what is keeping them from getting help?

This is a good question, that deserves a good answer. We asked Vera Karmebäck to answer the question for us. Vera is Swedish and moved to Kenya a few years ago. She has always been engaged in sustainability issues and healthy living. Kenya is a water scarce country and water pollution is very common, so Vera knows what it’s like to live with poor access to water.

Here’s Vera’s view on the issue why it’s so hard to provide fresh drinking water to everyone:

Vera in Kenya“It’s a really interesting question – it seems simple at first, but after thinking about it for a bit longer, it is actually not that easy to answer.  

First of all, the answer to the question is very local. The reasons for why it is hard to bring safe and clean drinking water to the people are not the same in, let’s say, Kenya, as it is in Spain, or Somalia or the Maldives. That is the first problem – there is no blanket solution, but each context requires its own, local solutions, which need to be researched, found, and successfully rolled out.  

Costs: Like with all things that need to be fixed, solutions cost money. Whether it is battling traffic problems, rolling out accessible and affordable health care, or providing safe drinking water solutions, money is needed – a lot of money. In a lot of the countries where not everyone has access to clean drinking water, there is also a lot of corruption and/or not enough money available to get the ball rolling.  

Another problem I can think of is invisibility – the human eye can’t see the microbes and germs that contaminate water, which makes it harder to know whether water is contaminated, and also more complicated to test.  

I think it’s a quite complex problem and if it was easy to answer, there wouldn’t be millions of people still without access to clean drinking water!”


– Vera Karmebäck

Thanks, Vera. 🙂
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