Muddy Water

Published: Friday 15 August 2008

-- Down to Earth About 1.2 billion people in the world live with inadequate access to safe drinking water. Over 2.6 billion do not have access to sanitation facilities

Down to Earth In developing countries 80 per cent of the health problems are linked to inadequate water and sanitation, claiming the lives of nearly 1.8 million children every year

Down to Earth Experts concur the problem is a water governance crisis. As competition for water becomes intense, corruption affects all aspects of the sector water resource management, drinking water and sanitation services, irrigation, hydropower and dams

Down to Earth Corruption affects both private and public water services. Every year, 10-30 per cent of the funds allocated for managing the water sector are being siphoned off. At this rate, the cost of water connection over the next decade will increase by 30 per cent

Down to Earth In industrialized countries, corruption is more common in awarding of contracts for building and operating municipal water infrastructure. The market is worth us $210 billion a year in western Europe, North America and Japan alone

Down to Earth In developing countries bribes to win contracts range from 1 to 6 per cent of the contract values. Petty corruption is rampant in service delivery

Down to Earth In China, corruption has left 90 per cent of the aquifers polluted and over 75 per cent of the river water flowing through urban areas unfit for drinking or fishing

Down to Earth In India, corruption undermines irrigation, as bribe exceeds 25 per cent of the contract value. Malpractices are common in tanker supply (73 per cent), meter installation (71 per cent), bill payment (43 per cent) and new connections or restoration of water supply (67 per cent). Financial leakages in watershed management programmes range from 30 to 45 per cent of the approved amounts

Types of corruption in water sector  
Down to Earth  
In percentage (An analysis of cases in Bangladesh)  
Down to Earth In Bangladesh, cases of corruption in projects run by the water resources ministry is estimated to have cost up to us $1.5 billion between 2001 and 2006

Down to Earth Regions with chronic water problems are South Asia, China, sub-Saharan Africa, West Asia, Australia, the western us and South America's Andean region

Down to Earth Climate change, which is escalating environmental degradation, adds new pressures to the problem

Down to Earth Given the current projections on climate change, by 2025, more than 3 billion people could be living in water-stressed countries. Crop yields are expected to fall by 25 per cent, giving rise to malnutrition

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