Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Third World water supply

Residents of this village have been boiling their water for drinking for the past four years.  They have just been told that they can expect to do this for at least another ten years, because upgrading the supply is not a priority.

The village water supply, which is drawn from an open stream, was described by the regional mayor as "Potentially safe to drink, most of the time".  There is the possibility of Giardia and Cryptosporidium contamination in the water supply.  Doesn't sound too good does it?

The UN General Assembly declared on 28th July 2010 that safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights. The General Assembly also voiced deep concern that almost 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water.

So, is this village in Africa, South America, or India?  No.  It's in the North Island of New Zealand.  That puts these residents on a par with many Third World countries.

Mathew Grocot, writing in the Manawatu Standard this week, reports that the Horowhenua District Mayor told the local residents association that the minimum period before residents could expect to see a tangible improvement in their water supply was ten years.  Water and sewage projects in the district would cost more than $100 million over the next 20 years.  Another town in the district had priority for upgrade of its water and sewage systems.

Some residents were predictably annoyed when told that other infrastructure projects, including a community centre, library and park upgrades in other towns had priority.  When asked why these projects were deemed more important than the village water supply, the mayor said that if these community facilities were not provided, people would not want to live in the district.

Seems to me that crap in the water is a really good reason not to live there.

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