Water for All
Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT-CWS
More than a billion people worldwide lack clean water, and more than 2.1 million people most of them children die each year from waterborne disease. Water cannot be taken for granted.
Some experts predict that by the middle of this century people in over 60 countries could face water shortages. At the heart of the threat to future water supplies is the destruction of ecosystems. For example, over half the countries in Africa are “water-stressed.” Lack of access to water affects the life of vulnerable populations, making the simple task of collecting water a tremendous burden.
CWS supports communities in obtaining and managing their own potable water supplies and watershed sources. We regard water as a responsibility of public service, not as a resource for the few who can afford to pay. This means preventing policies that narrow the range of available options such as trade rules that encourage inappropriate privatization and commercialization of services and promoting the ability of local communities to develop their own solutions.
Water for health: Church World Service programs improve health and meet basic needs by providing safe and sufficient water and improving sanitation conditions and hygiene practices.
Water for food: Church World Service programs help secure food supplies with 1) efficient irrigation; 2) use of under-utilized natural water resources (groundwater, rain harvests, rivers, lakes, and lowland collections); and 3)mitigation of risks by improving water management in communities that suffer chronic drought and/or flooding.
Water for the future: Church World Service programs protect watersheds. The natural purification and sustainability of water resources requires ecosystem-based management. Programs integrate traditional water development with environmental education and land/water use management.
Water for peace: Church World Service programs support the peaceful sharing of water resources. Water resource governance brings together the uses of water (drinking, food, domestic, enterprise, environment, energy) and users of water (neighbors, communities, administrative regions, and countries). When conflicting demands arise, Church World Service supports equitable and efficient water sharing and resource management.