New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Chapter 3: Access to Water Supply: Achieving the Millennium Development Goal
3.1 INTRODUCTION Scarcity often manifests itself in terms of the proportion of population having access to a safe water supply. In terms of water resources there is not much diﬀerence between Egypt, Kenya and Burkina Faso: each of them has approximately 900 cubic metres of fresh water per person. However, there is considerable variation in the proportion of population having access to improved sources of water: 98 per cent in Egypt, 62 per cent in Kenya and 51 per cent in Burkina Faso (based on data from WHO–UNICEF, 2004). Democratic Republic of Congo has some 25,000 cubic metres of fresh water per capita and the Republic of Congo has 10 times that quantity of fresh water per capita. In both those countries, the proportion of the population having access to improved water sources is 46 per cent. The example of Cheerapunji in Meghalaya state in northeastern India is often cited (see, for example, Agarwal and Narain, 1997; Rathore, 2004; Saxena et al., 2005). It holds the record for the highest amount of annual rainfall, with much of this rainfall occurring during the monsoon months (June–September); yet, it has been reported to be facing acute water scarcity during certain months in a year. Lack of access to water and sanitation has both direct and indirect impacts on well-being and quality of life. Households and communities without access to improved sources often need to spend signiﬁcant amounts of time and energy in transporting and storing water; as...
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