Clean Water for the Rich

Annie Heathorn

“Often the poorest people are those who receive the worst public services and pay the most for water” (Whiteford 2005).  Because of the failure of the Mexico state government, the residents have inadequate water and the power goes to the private vendors.  This creates a delicate balance of power between private and public water companies, with the residents are at the mercy of both.  In addition to not having enough water, the poorest communities are often given the worst quality water.  To reduce costs, wells without filters are installed and the water that flows into peoples houses are often full of mud.  Cleaning water is time-consuming task that usually falls to the women.  A rag is attached to the faucet and then the water sits in a bucket to allow the mud to sink to the bottom.  The effort, time and money it takes to obtain clean water adds an additional burden to residents who are already struggling to stay alive.  The scarcity of available water increases the gap between the rich and the poor in these countries, putting the control of the water in the hands of a few priveledged.

Water scarcity has detrimental effects on health, especially children’s.  Contaminated water is the root of diarrheal disease which is the second highest causes of death in Mexico. Disease spreads like wildfire in communities that do not have access to adequate, clean water.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15502694

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One thought on “Clean Water for the Rich

  1. The consequences of not having access to clean water range dramatically. As mentioned in your blog, lack of clean water results in diarrheal disease among children to chronic diseases such as cancer where chemicals such as arsenic contaminate water source. Moreover, hidden costs to societies that do not have water access is uncompensated time and work that women and children spend every day to fetch water from distant places. Instead of children going to school or mothers working on other matters; these two groups are marginalized and are forced to spend a tremendous amount of time fetching water for their family. Growing up in Ethiopia where water from faucet is turned off on a rotational basis in the city makes it difficult to have continuous access of clean water. I remember as a child having to buy buckets of water from nearby places and carry them to our home. Another important factor to note is the politics of water not only in rural communities of the developing world but also in urban settings and also slums of major cities across the world.

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