Water Equity

Interscientia (2)
Despite the major progress achieved by water supply sector since the Millennium Development Goals were commenced, there is still a concern that access towards water does not distribute evenly among citizens in the different geographical area nor in different economic groups. In 2011, the WHO/UNICEF’s Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) had recognised that the emphasis on national progress masks many inequity problems. For example, the JMP further reported that access to improved drinking water sources is lower in rural areas compared to that in urban areas in almost all countries, and are more than double among the richest of the population than among the poorest quintile group (WHO & UNICEF, 2011). The replacement development framework of MDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals, strives for a universal water target that highlights sustainable access to safe and affordable water supply. The concept of equity is inherent in this target, indicating that water must be physically and economically accessible for all. The JMP had set a target for 2040: to reduce half of the proportion of the population not using an intermediate drinking water service at home and to progressively reduce inequalities in access (Goff & Crow, 2014). Hence, the ensuing challenge is how to properly measure whether equal access to water is achieved. But what is equity and equality? Should equity and equality mainly about physical access and adequate quantity of water? Or should it be also about the water cost burden? Or should it touch the issue of gender and social justice? How are equity and inequality produced? What are the impacts of water inequity and equality?
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