Water the report of the World Commission on

 

Water
and Sanitation

Water is an elemental requirement
in life to sustain. With varying climate changes and increasing pollution, the
quality and accessibility of water is subsequently affected. Water has,
therefore, become one of the core issues of sustainable development. As defined
in the report of the World
Commission on Environment and Development (1987), sustainable
development is “development that meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs”.
However, meeting these needs also requires an assurance that everyone gets
their fair share of access to resources so as to sustain growth. Increase in
global population as well as rising pollution and lack of access to clean water
has led to a growing need to balance demands on water resources so that every person
has enough for their needs (UN.org,
n.d.).

While water is a basic
necessity for life, sanitation is fundamental to health (Lowe Morna,
2000), thus, water and sanitation
cannot be seen in isolation from each other. Roughly 2.1 billion people worldwide lack access to safe water while
almost 4.5 billion people lack improved sanitation facilities (World Health Organization, 2017).
Most of the rural population, specially women and children are most affected by
water scarcity and poor sanitation. Women and girls, in many parts of the
world, shoulder the responsibility of provision and management of water at the
domestic level. In rural areas where access to water is not readily available,
women bear the task to deliver water from sources that are located away from
their vicinity, thereby, travelling long distances in order to get clean water
for household and agricultural purposes.

Since people in the
rural areas lack sufficient financial resources, proper sanitation facilities
are, therefore, unavailable to them. Without sanitation facilities, women tend
to relieve themselves either in the night or early in the morning so to as to
avoid being seen by men (Brown,
2010). The policy brief ‘Gender, Water and Sanitation’ published by the UN-Water department in
2006, briefly explores the issue of water management and sanitation,
specially looking at the roles and responsibilities of women globally. Policies
on management and provision of water resources and improved sanitation
facilities often overlook the role of women and the abundant knowledge they possess
on the subject. The policy brief addresses this issue of involvement of women
in formulating policies and projects to improve water accessibility and sanitation
provision by addressing particular issues of concern and providing
recommendations to ensure gender perspective in global water and sanitation projects.