‘Water Management: Communities rise to the challenge of providing clean water’

By Karl Nerenberg and Michelle Hibler

Providing clean water for everyone is a global concern. But nowhere is this more challenging than in developing countries where one in five people has no access to safe drinking water.

Solutions to the problem have long focused on increasing water supplies through technological means — dams, diversion of water streams, and desalination, among them. But they aren’t enough: meeting the world’s water needs also requires better water management and effective institutions — it needs people. That is the thrust of research supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The three projects described below — in Egypt, Bolivia, and Burkina Faso — tell a compelling story of water and people and show how science can support the formulation of sound policies, provide tools for communities to find their own solutions, and lead to strong institutions to ensure that the gains are sustained.

These projects also clearly show that accessing, distributing, sharing, and conserving water requires a strong institutional framework.

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