The Issue of Gender and Water

Within our own private circle, it is sometimes difficult to think how an issue may exist for someone else. One such issue, which is currently being considered by private organizations and agencies is the fact that accessing water is a gender issue, which negatively impacts women, for many cultures.

In a recent story, Sew Much Better Now,  provided by Water.org, we see how one woman was unable to provide sufficiently for her family, since much of her time was spent in sourcing water for her family.

I hope that the above story will allow many more persons to understand the issue of gender and water, and be able to make a difference in some way even if they have to donate through Water.org to do so.

 

Water Policy Volume 20 Issue 1

We have just received our copy of the Water Policy journal (February 2018) , the official journal of the World Water Council, from IWA Publishing.

This journal provides articles on a wide range of topics such as management of watercourses, policy and floodplain management, water access, water demand, governance and water tariff policy alternatives.

Cover of Water Policy (Volume 20 Issue 1)
Cover of Water Policy Journal Volume 20 (1)

Persons wishing to view a copy of this journal can email me or visit me at my desk.

10 million…

Ten (10) million (let’s let that number soak in a little bit)…ten (10) million people, i.e. now have access to safe water and sanitation through the work of Water.org and the many who have contributed to their cause.

To get an idea of the numbers reached, as well as, to meet ten of the ten million people who have been able to access safe water and sanitation follow the 10 million link.

Persons interested in donating to the cause can just click on donate to be redirected to the relevant page.

 

Radical Rehab – Processes, procedures, and products to restore water and sewer pipes

In the November- December 2017 issue of the Water Efficiency magazine one gets a look at the changes being undertaken in the United States to replace the outdated water and wastewater systems.

Article by Lori Lovely 8th November, 2017

More than a million miles of underground pipes carry water to our homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses. These pipes last a long time, but pipes placed during the late 19th century through the middle of the 20th century are nearing—or have already reached—the end of their useful life.

More than a decade ago, the American Water Works Association announced the dawn of the replacement era and the need to rebuild the water and wastewater systems inherited from previous generations. In addition, population growth has increased the demand for water service, placing greater stress on existing pipes and requiring utilities to expand coverage by adding larger pipe networks and repair or refurbish those in use.

The AWWA estimates that the cost will exceed $1.7 trillion through 2050 in order to maintain current levels of water service, with replacement accounting for 54% of the total, and the rest attributed to population growth and migration. Putting it off will only result in poor water service with more disruptions and increasing costs for emergency repairs as pipes fail. The national-level investment facing utilities will roughly double from about $13 billion a year in 2010 to almost $30 billion annually by the 2040s for replacement alone.

Click on the following link to continue reading the rest of the article from the Water Efficiency Magazine – Radical Rehab – Processes, procedures and products to restore water and wastewater pipes

Celebrate World Toilet Day Through Giving

We all know the importance of having proper sanitation and how improper sanitation can lead to a contaminated water supply and the spread of harmful diseases.

World Toilet Day would be on November 19 and in order to celebrate this Water.org is inviting persons to spread the word in order to get donations to improve the lives of millions.

Statistics show that more than 2.3 billion people have no place to go. Don’t miss your opportunity to help Water.org change this. Donate today, and empower more people to give their families safe, private toilets at home.

Donate To Toilet.org

You can even give a toilet from your smartphone with the sit and give initiative.  With more people in the world having access to a mobile phone than a toilet you can use yours to sit and give today.

Donate online at Water.org and change a life with a toilet.

You can even read up on how one family’s life was changed with just a small loan.

Water, Sanitation and Matt Damon

I don’t know about everybody else but I really love movies and some actors I just find really amazing. One actor I really love to watch on screen is Matt Damon, since he’s so dedicated to his role and seems like an overall nice guy.

Yet, I wonder how many of you know about his mission to promote safe water and sanitation on a global scale.

He, together with, Garry White, engineer and social entrepreneur have co-founded Water.org, where they have been able to assist 5.5 million people to date, with an expected 2.5 million people for 2017.

With “1.8 billion people globally using a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated” and “2.4 billion people lacking an access to basic sanitation services such as toilets and latrines” (source: United Nations) such an endeavor is definitely needed.

Persons wishing to learn more about Water.org, and even donate to a worthy cause, can visit their website.

Waterorg_Homepage_Img-5.original

Women and Water by Laura Sanchez

Women and water share a powerful and intimate bond. In many parts of the world women bear the primary responsibility for water collection, they nourish their families with it, and often play a vital role in water economies. Water is fundamental for health, safety, industry, and food security. In an effort to better understand women’s participation in the water industry and the water supply network,Water Efficiency magazine reached out to Kirsten de Vette of the International Water Association (IWA) for her global perspective.

From 2014 to 2015, deVette headed a team focused on women professionals in urban water, specifically, on improving service delivery by strengthening the role of female water professionals in decision-making. She is currently focused on capacity development in the water sector. She and her team hope to create an understanding of the gaps and shortages within the water network and to address these deficiencies at institutional, organizational, and individual levels.

Kirsten de Vette

Water Efficiency (WE): What first drew you to the water industry and what excites you about it today?

Kirsten deVette (KdV): As a sociologist I did my research on the use of social networks in recovery after an earthquake. My fieldwork in Peru had a deep impact on me, particularly in the way that families lost all their basic needs in one event. It struck me how simple access to water was problematic for months after the disaster, and still—one year later—was limited to two hours per day. Not even to mention their sanitation situation; mostly a curtain and a hole in the ground. It made me realize how uncommon my situation [in the Netherlands] is, with clean tap water that we can drink at any time we want, and toilets everywhere. This was my first reality check. And this encounter inspired me to contribute to this sector.

Now, having worked a number of years in the sector, I know how water influences everything on this planet—all sectors, all products, all services—our basic needs, our eco-systems, and everything else. Nothing functions without water, and even then its importance is not always recognized. I feel strongly that water professionals (we have too few) should influence behavioral change in the industry and of society, so as to stimulate better management of water resources. This includes the use of proper sanitation facilities, wastewater treatment, and discharge methods, in order to improve our environment’s and society’s health.

 

WE: Do you feel that women are sufficiently represented within our industry?

KdV: No. And this is not just an issue of equity. There is a significant business case to be made for greater female participation in the water sector. Women represent half of the population, and are equally affected (if not more so) by the practices of the water industry. Women are part of the customer base and should therefore be included in the water workforce to design and implement solutions, products, and services. Similarly, there is a huge shortage of water professionals globally, regardless of which country you live in. Encouraging and promoting more women into the industry could easily prove to be a quick win for the sector and society.

 

WE: In what ways do you think that we can enhance women’s contribution to the water supply network?

KdV: Much of the gender-focused work related to water is about getting women to voluntarily contribute to water projects, as main users in the household. Whilst I agree that getting them to contribute to the water supply decision-making is important, this approach, in my opinion, reinforces the old views and assumptions of what women are and what they should be. Even if we acknowledge that all countries are at different stages when it comes to gender equity, it relegates women to a secondary role, and assumes that women have time to volunteer. Removing opportunities to see them as possible professionals.

From that perspective, I enjoyed leading a project within IWA that looked at promoting gender equality in the urban water sector, stimulating the participation of women in decision-making positions of the workforce.

What the project recognized is that action would be needed at multiple levels:

Policy—The enabling environment needs to be put in place to allow for women to combine family and work in the water sector. This starts with for example labor laws around maternity leave, paternity leave, flexible working hours etc., as well as water sector policies around capacity development in the water sector that should recognize the gender inequality and needs for mainstreaming.

Education—We cannot simply hire more women in the water sector, as this would result in un(der)qualified professionals; we need to stimulate women to work in technical fields, stimulate STEM amongst girls, and provide equal education opportunities to men and women, providing scholarships, and internships.

Industry—Women are more present in the younger generation of water professionals but more efforts at organizational level are needed. Organizations can encourage a younger generation of women to be interested to work in the field, they can put in place the right procedures, and policies to recognize gender equality, provide equal training and promotion opportunities, and in some cases simply provide facilities for staff.

Funding agencies—The impact that funding agencies have in the sector is enormous, because of the investment they bring. Therefore, setting criteria and prerequisite conditions regarding gender equality in the workforce can result in action in countries and organizations.

Having said this, in many countries gender inequality remains deeply embedded in the culture, and this is not something we can change overnight. The water sector can—as other sectors have done—take a huge step in contributing to societal change by opening this typically male industry to women.

 

WE: How can we support young women in our field?

KdV: In addition to systemic change related to policy, education, industry, and funding, two other areas are important: having good role models is critical, as is facilitating networks and networking for women within the sector.

 

WE:  Thank you, Kirsten. WE_bug_web