Water provision for the poor: How ideology muddies the debate
At the heart of debates on poverty, hunger, slums and disease lies one common factor- the lack of access to clean water and sanitation. Though it is crucial to life, agriculture and the world economy, water is perhaps one of the most mismanaged goods on Earth. But while current policies have left one billion people without clean water, many people oppose practical measures to change this situation -- because of ideology.
In many countries, private management of water supplies has made a real difference to the live of millions, yet influential groups are opposed to the idea that profit should be made from water. Meanwhile, such groups are reluctant to admit the failures of public management and the successes of private management.
Alex Nash, a water engineer, will discuss this debate in the context of his experience of providing water in less developed countries. He has worked for both the private sector and large international NGOs, notably during the refugee crisis in Darfur.
Alex has no vested interest in the private water sector and no ideological aversion to either private or public provision- his only interest lies in solving the practical problems of water and sanitation supply. His paper, Water provision for the poor - How ideology muddies the debate, discusses the irrational and destructive standpoint of “well-meaning public provision ideologues”.