Rural water access: why should countries follow Paraguay’s lead?

Paraguay

May 26, 2017. In the small community of Juan Augusto Saldívar, about an hour outside of Paraguay’s capital, Julian Marecos is president of the local water board. He volunteers with four others to supervise the community’s water service, which was founded in 1993 and supplies more than 3,800 users, including the school, health centre, church, and other people in neighbouring areas.

Born and raised in the area, Marecos still remembers the difficulties endured to access drinking water. “Traditionally, families used to get water from wells they had in their homes but often, particularly during very hot seasons, these wells dried up,” he says. “Thanks to the board, we no longer have these difficulties and we have available drinking water, which helps us avoid many diseases.”

Across Latin America, 30 million people don’t have access to safe water while 100 million still lack access to sanitation. This is despite the region being home to a third of the world’s freshwater resources. The issue was given priority in the millennium development goals (MDGs), which gave a target of halving, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

Only one country managed this in rural areas: Paraguay. In fact, it overachieved the goal; more than 94% of its rural population now has access to safe water, compared with 51.6% in 2000, making more progress than any other country.

Read the entire article: The guardian