Can the poor pay for drinking water?

by Rob Hope

Economists often ask awkward questions. With safe drinking water a human right as well one of the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) there must be the money to pay for everyone to get drinking water, right? Apparently not. With over two billion people without safely-managed water and 663 million without basic water the costs to meet the target by 2030 runs to US$114 billion per year.

The policy puzzle is how to square safe water for everyone with financial sustainability? As words fly up, delivery on the ground remains tricky. So if we ask the question from the perspective of the poor, and what they will pay, does that help us think of new ways forward? Continue reading

Learning to live with floods

Maggie Mort 150.jpgMaggie Mort is Professor of the sociology of science, technology and medicine at Lancaster University. She is coordinator of the EU H2020 project Cultures of Disaster Resilience Among Children and Young People (CUIDAR), which followed directly from the ESRC Urgency project Children, Young People and Flooding carried out on Humberside and in Thames Valley.

Marion Walker 150.jpgMarion Walker is a human geographer and Senior Research Associate at Lancaster University. Using innovative methodologies, she has extensive experience in working with flood-affected families in the UK and led the research on the Hull Children’s Flood Project following the severe floods of 2007.

Here they reflect on the most recent serious floods in England – within a mile of their workplace.

‘Flood warning no longer in force’, read the status for the River Conder, at Galgate Area A, within days of the flood on 22 November. But while floodwaters have retreated, what it means to be flooded is only just starting to unfold for those caught up in it. The residents who were affected and evacuated now must enter a long and uncertain period of recovery. And just like the flood-affected children we worked with in South Ferriby on Humberside after the 2013-14 tidal surge, many of these families face a Christmas in temporary accommodation or in hotels. Continue reading

On the road to resilience in Ethiopia

Dr Barry Hague, Science Writer and Editor, recently talked to Dr Frank van Steenbergen of the Roads for Water consortium – which was launched with funding from the ESRC and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

This article uncovers how ongoing research by Roads for Water is tackling issues surrounding the improvement of roads in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Barry Hague

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Frank van Steenbergen

It’s time to rethink roads. In the vital fields of flood prevention and water supply, they offer incredible potential to enhance and enrich the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. Dr Frank van Steenbergen of the Roads for Water consortium is helping to drive this remarkable revolution.

Continue reading