Water Security at the Forefront of Reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2015<br />Many people take water for grant...
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  1. 1. Water Security at the Forefront of Reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2015<br />Many people take water for granted: they turn on the tap and the water flows. Or they go to the supermarket, where they can pick from among dozens of brands of bottled water. But for more than a billion people on our planet, clean water is out of reach. And some 2.6 billion people have no access to proper sanitation. The consequences are devastating. Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and a basic human right. And water and sanitation are at the heart of our quest to enable all the world’s people, not just a fortunate few, to live in dignity, prosperity and peace. Kofi A. Annan, UN secretary general<br />Human development is first and foremost about allowing people to lead a life that they value and enabling them so that they realize their potential as human beings. The normative framework for human development is today reflected in the broad vision set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), at the United Nation General Assembly in September 2000, adopted by 189 UN Members. While almost all the MDGs can be indirectly linked to water supply and sanitation issues, Goal 7 on environmental sustainability addresses them directly: “halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”. <br />Water is essential to human life. It is a finite natural resource, and access to water is vital to make any progress towards poverty eradication and realization of basic human rights. The desert-covered state of Rajasthan suffers from water shortages, water pollution, scanty rainfall and high potential evaporation rate. Rajasthan accounts for 5.65% of India’s population but only 1.28% of available water resources. There are 20 dark blocks where annual extraction is 85-100% of the annual recharge. Average annual rain fall in Rajasthan is 520 mm and only 100mm in Jaisalmer. These figures are staggering, especially when compared with rates in the eastern states<br />231394054610The MDGs provide a benchmark for measuring progress towards the basic human right to have access to clean water. Water pervades all aspects of human development. When people are denied access to clean water at home or when they lack access to water as a productive resource their choices and freedoms are constrained by ill health, poverty and vulnerability. <br />The urgency of achieving the MDG for water and sanitation cannot be stressed enough. A Rajasthan High Court order states “drinking water is fundamental right under article 21 (Right to life) of the constitution and state is duty bound to provide safe drinking water to every citizen”, which demonstrates the importance of water recognized by the government. <br />8 Millennium Development Goals for 2015:<br />Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger<br />Estimated water availability in Rajasthan per year per capita is 840 Cubic meter (2001) which will shrink to 561 in 2025 and 439 in 2050. In spite of the inhospitable desert climate, approximately 80% of the population of Rajasthan lives in rural villages where agriculture is the primary occupation. Continuous drought in Rajasthan impacts the basic survival needs of people, including safe drinking water and adequate nutrition. Reduced agricultural output and economic losses have forced people to migrate in search of livelihood and traps vulnerable households in cycles of poverty. Of those that can not harvest their own water to last during drought periods, there is still a significant portion of people who do not even have access to government pipelines. Those that do use these pipelines often have to pay very high rates in order to fulfill their daily water requirements. <br />Achieve universal primary education<br />Household chores are the primary responsibility of women in Rajasthan, particularly in villages. As water is a scarce resource, collecting it and carrying it over long distances keeps the majority of girls out of school, leaving them to a future of illiteracy and decreases their opportunities for empowerment. Water-related diseases such as dengue, diarrhea and other parasitic infections are contributing major cause of health problems. These diseases also encourage absenteeism in schools and decrease the level of education. As a result of insufficient water and sanitation facilities available in schools, especially in rural areas, the dropout ratio for girls is increased even more. <br />Promote gender equality and empower women<br />Deprivation in water and sanitation perpetuates gender inequality and leaves them disempowered. Women bear the brunt of responsibility for collecting water, often spending up to 4-6 hours a day walking and carrying water. Women spend their time caring for children, especially those made ill by waterborne diseases, further diminishing their opportunity to engage in productive work. Lack of adequate toilet facilities forces women to walk long distances from their village to find privacy, increasing their risk of harassment which causes complications for their dignity, as well as increases in stress levels. Article14(2) of the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Woman (1979) stipulates that state parties shall ensure to women to the right to “enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to water”.<br />Reduce child mortality <br />Dirty water and poor sanitation account for the vast majority of the 1.8 million child deaths each year from diarrhea—making it the second largest cause of child mortality. Achieving the MDG for water and sanitation at even the most basic level of provision would save more than 1 million lives in the next decade. Water borne diseases reinforce deep and socially unjust disparities, with children in poor households facing a risk of death some 3-4 times greater than children in rich households. According to census of Rajasthan, 2001 child mortality rate is 79 over 1000 children which is higher than other states of India. Article 24(2) of the convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) requires states parties to combat disease and malnutrition “through the provision of adequate nutritious food and clean drinking water”. <br />Improve maternal health<br />The provision of water and sanitation reduces the incidence of diseases and afflictions—such as anemia, vitamin deficiency and trachoma, genital infections, and other waterborne diseases—that undermines maternal health and contributes to maternal mortality. The negative impact of poor maternal health has dire consequences for newborn children, who can not expect their situation to improve during the most vital stages of early childhood development. <br />Combat HIV/ AIDS, malaria and other diseases <br />Inadequate access to water and sanitation increases the risks for those already living with HIV/AIDS who are extremely susceptible to infection. Poor sanitation and drainage contribute to malaria, which claims some 1.3 million lives a year, 90% of them children under the age of five in all over world. According to the Health Index of Rajasthan, 10.3% of the total rural death is caused by diarrhea, 0.6% by malaria, and 2.1% by anemia. <br />Ensure environmental sustainability<br />The goal of halving the proportion of people without access to water and sanitation will be missed on current trends by 234 million people for water and 430 million people for sanitation. Slow progress in these objectives will hold back advances in all other MDGs. Over-exploitation of ground water will increase the threat to agricultural systems, food security and livelihoods along with water pollution and water related diseases. <br />There are 11000 habitations (10% of India) in Rajasthan, where water levels have gone down and drinking water contains various imparities. In terms of ground water, only 32 blocks were considered as safe-drinking sources out of total 237 blocks in Rajasthan and 23297 villages out of 41353 villages in the state contain fluoride and are saline. Out of the total 47000 sites identified for water harvesting structures, only 8% of the structures have been completed so far. More than 75% diseases in rural Rajasthan are related to inadequate sanitation, which is also one of the major causes of high infant mortality. <br />Develop a global partnership for development<br />There is no effective global partnership for water and sanitation, and successive high-level conferences have failed to create the momentum needed to push water and sanitation in the international agenda. Water and sanitation is weakly integrated into Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. In many areas we are still failing to put in place the policies and financing needed to accelerate progress.<br />Promoting Water Security Before it’s too Late…<br />We have to face challenges posed by increasing water pollution and the growing demand of fresh water that exceeds supply with strong determination. Availability of safe drinking water should be a major priority. If actions are not taken to resolve the present conditions, it is expected that water issues will set the context for the next world war. Clean water and sanitation are among the most powerful drivers for human development. They extend opportunity, enhance dignity and help create a virtuous cycle of improving health and rising wealth. To achieve these goals we need to:<br />Incorporate sanitation and hygiene into the school curriculum which enables children to become agents of change in their communities.<br />Promote access to water as a basic human right through legislation for the progressive implementation of that right by ensuring that all people have access to at least 20 liters of clean water a day. <br />Use international aid to strengthen basic healthcare provisions in preventing and treating diarrhea.<br />Treat water as a precious natural resource rather than an expendable commodity to be exploited without reference to environmental sustainability.<br />Develop nationally owned plans that link the MDG target for water and sanitation to clear medium-term financing provisions and pursue practical policies for overcoming inequality.<br />Empower local governments and communities through decentralization, capacity development and adequate financing, with at least 1% of GDP allocated to water and sanitation through public spending.<br />To achieve our predefined MDGs, we have less than 10 years. As above article presents that each and every goal of MDGs is linked with each other and mainly with water so the achievements of other goals also linked with the fulfillment of the water targets. We have to think and plan a strategy to combat water crisis at not only government level but also community level. <br />

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