More than a billion people still lack access to clean water. Nor is there much available. Some 95 per cent of the world’s freshwater is locked deep in the ground, far from the reach of millions in the drylands of the developing world.
In this article, Rhona MacDonald, assistant editor at the British Medical Journal, reveals the chequered history of the effort to get clean water to the developing world. Barriers and problems have abounded — from water conflicts to aid that fails to monitor local needs, and a lack of essential funding.
MacDonald says that the outlook is grim if a truly cooperative effort fails to get off the ground. Governments, donors, nongovernmental organisations and communities need to pull together — and urgently. For far too many millions, time is running out.
Reference: BMJ 327, 1416 (2003)