Providing adequate water and sanitation services is one of the most critical challenges faced by cities in developing countries. In fact, 780 million people around the globe do not have access to clean water while 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. It is especially difficult to accommodate these services in urban areas because of rapid population growth. Did you know that over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas? Since access to water and sanitation is one of the topic areas of the CityLinks program, we are particularly interested in this issue!
ICMA has resources available on its website, icma.org, and the Knowledge Network, icma.org/kn. Our white paper, “Providing Water and Sanitation to the Urban Poor in Less Developed Countries” describes the significant role that local government plays in providing access to water and sanitation. One of our international programs, Commercialization of Afghanistan Water and Sanitation Activity (CAWSA), has helped nine cities make operational and management improvements to advance urban water and sanitation service delivery. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently awarded us with a two year, $3.6 million dollar extension to continue our work with this program. You can learn more about these accomplishments and what we plan to achieve in the next few years here.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also houses resources that link the water sector to climate change adaptation. Their Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) initiative assists the water sector in addressing the effects of climate change, and their Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool helps drinking water and wastewater utility owners assess climate change risks. The EPA hosts a number of webinars; visit their CRWU Training page to register for their upcoming session on April 10, which will explain how utilities can use the EPA’s Adaptation Strategies Guide when developing adaptation plans.
We have a few entries on the CityLinks blog that relate to water and sanitation. In case you missed them, be sure to read “In Tanzania, Scaling Up Sanitation for the Urban Poor,” which details how our partner, Shack/Slum Dwellers International, is helping Africa’s slums improve sanitation. “Improving Water and Sanitation through Mobile Phones” introduces the idea of using games on mobile devices to learn about sanitation. Another one of our CityLinks partners, the American Public Works Association (APWA), specializes in water services and provides resources about water and sewers on their website.
To learn more about CityLinks, visit our website. Please visit ICMA International’s site to find out about the projects ICMA implements around the world.