Access to water: a daily struggle

In developing countries, access to running water remains a CRITICAL NEED for the most vulnerable populations. Usually abandoned by urban policies, slums do not benefit sustainable access to running water. Its inhabitants face a major problem: insufficient quantities of poor quality water. Water issues lead to numerous tensions: water is expensive, most often far from houses, difficult to carry and generates many problems and health expenses. Women and children are usually responsible for fetching water. Several times a days they must carry heavy loads between their house and the water point. Fetching water is extremely time-consuming as people face daily queuing and water cuts issues.

To remedy public services failures, alternative water access systems are implemented: hacking of official water networks, illegal water dealers, public or private wells... Network hacking degrade water pressure and quality of official networks. The whole network is thus contaminated with latrines, sewerage water, wastes... Illegal water dealers charge much higher prices compared to official prices. They are often organised into ‘mafia’ gangs, puting pressure on families. Water quality from public or private wells, or sold by illegal dealers is rarely tested but it is most often unfit for human consumption. It causes numerous diseases (diarrhea, cholera, dengue, pneumonia...).

Eau et Vie respond

Eau et Vie creates local social businesses operating in water distribution. The local company thus created, builds up water networks, distributes water throughout the slums and provides related services, including billing services and network maintenance. It aims to CONNECT EVERY HOUSEHOLD, SCHOOL AND HEALTHCARE CENTER of the area to an individual meter.

The social business operates in areas where official distributors cannot meet their profitability standards. 80% of their personnel (plumbers, collectors...) are recruited within the slum. Work methods are adapted to the community proper functioning (for instance payment collection is organised on a daily or weekly basis).
Water access price is calculated to be affordable for families and cover the agency’s operating expenses. Each agency aims financial and organisational sustainability, for sustainable actions. When the business meets profitability rate, all profits are either reinvested to continue water supply activities either allocated to a community fund.

Social businesses

Two local social businesses were created: Tubig-Pag Asa (“Water for Hope”) in Philippines and Shobar Jonno Pani (“Water for All”) in Bangladesh.

The World Health Organization advocates for a minimum of 20 liters of water per person and per day to meet critical needs. Decent living requires 50 liters of water per person and per day. Comfort level is reached from 100 liters onward per person and per day.

Data are however alarming:

Over 1 billion people in the world have no access to safe drinking water.

Every 8 seconds, a child dies from a lake of safe drinking water.

2 billion people die each year from water quality related diseases.

Source: Oxfam

The lowest drinking water distribution rates are recorded in subsaharian Africa (58%) and in the Pacific Rim (52%), nevertheless Asia holds the highest number of people lacking access to safe drinking water.

Source: UNICEF


Video reportage

Highlight of the methodology that enables access to water...

Reporting from Cebu

Movie: a few minutes in the Lower Tipolo slum...

Water flows!

The people of Bhashantek are proud to have running water...

Eau et Vie reportage

Fonds Suez Environnement Initiatives highlights Eau et Vie's activities...