Water is a resource only comparable to air in the sense that it is absolutely fundamental for life to exist. Yet, according to the Inter-American Development Bank, over 1 billion people in the world lack safe access to clean water and 25 million people in the world die every year as a result of contaminated waters, of which 5,000 deaths per day are of children.
Latin America has vast freshwater resources:it is estimated that 55% of the world's total renewable water resources are concentrated in Latin America and the Caribbean. Yet, around 30% of the Latin American and Caribbean urban population (120 million people) lack access to adequate water services. Furthermore, 219 million people with house connection of drinking water are suffering from an intermittent service. As a result, around 77,600 children die annually of diarrhoea, and water related diseases such as typhoid and cholera.
Against this tragic record is that discussion on what ways to guarantee universal access to water have moved around. And while many would see the “public v/s private water” debate as a logjam, we think that we need to pay better attention to the experience of the last 20 years in order to draw some lessons from it. It is from this experience that LASC sees the need to reclaim public water.
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