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Water Competition and Efficiency in Kazakhstan
Former Soviet-controlled Kazakhstan has come a long way since the end of the Cold War. Despite becoming a more stable nation in the Middle East compared to its neighbors, it still struggles with water distribution and quality to this day. This article shall discuss these chief problems through water competition and efficiency in Kazakhstan.

Competition with China

As far as competition goes, Kazakhstan has a major problem in the form of China. Kazakhstan relies heavily on the Ili River for a good portion of its water supply and both countries connect to this valuable river. At the end of the day, China receives a larger share of the river than Kazakhstan. This is partly because the Ili River begins in China, and that China has 15.7 billion cubic meters of water flow into its borders every year. On the flip side, Kazakhstan only gets around half of that with 8.4 billion cubic meters. China states that it should have a larger share due to it being larger than Kazakhstan and the fact that Kazakhstan exploited the water profusely in the 1960s. In fact, Kazakhstan still does today at a rate of 42.7 percent which is over the 40 percent limit range.

Efficiency in Water Distribution

Kazakhstan has noted that it needs to exploit these waters due to its inability to give its population enough water or water that meets sanitary standards. This is partly due to the lack of efficient water distribution to people in certain parts of Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, Central Kazakhstan only receives 3 percent of the country’s water.

Another problem is that the government has been treating its water as an unlimited resource while it is becoming clear that it is very scarce. This lead to poor management of this water while leading the citizens into believing that the problem is not as dire as it seems.

Sanitation in Kazakhstan

Another issue that Kazakhstan has is that most of its drinking water is unsafe to ingest. Due to the aforementioned poor distribution and supply of the water within the country, the amount of clean water sits at only 30 percent. A key cause of poor distribution is that the water often stops in pipes, which allows it to collect bacteria and disease. These interruptions in water flow can occur 14 days a month and last as long as 12 hours. The fact that the pipes that flow this drinking water are also in the same trenches as sewer pipes, causing cross-contamination and a possible epidemic does not help matters. This only further highlights why water competition and efficiency in Kazakhstan is so important.

Course of Action

Kazakhstan is looking to revamp its water system by not just fixing its own, but also by importing water from outside sources, namely other neighboring countries. The government is also receiving support from the E.U.; it is helping to create policies that can help Kazakhstan better preserve its water for drinking and agricultural needs. The E.U. is also going so far as to provide new technology to better equip the country in preserving this water. This is not surprising since the E.U. also provided $1.5 billion to help with water management from 2010 to 2013. With all of this support, the government of Kazakhstan is hoping to increase its people’s access to clean, sustainable drinking water by 2030.

In this article about water competition and efficiency in Kazakhstan, it is clear that the country is in a rough patch to competition outside of its borders, as well as its poor management of the water it possesses. With the proper restructuring of its water system and outside help, the country should be able to improve this issue. With the E.U.’s continued help and allocated funds and resources to fix the contamination and distribution problems, Kazakhstan should be able to see a great increase in clean water.

Collin Williams
Photo: Flickr

Water and Sanitation for Nicaraguans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nicaraguan urban poor have a long-standing history of lacking access to basic services, such as water and sanitation. In the capital city, Managua, the Greater Managua Water and Sanitation Project (PRASMA) was devised to create new water and sanitation infrastructure throughout the city.

This includes a system of low-cost sewage networks designed to target the poor regions of Managua. Although the PRASMA was a solid start, city officials realized that more was needed if they hoped to achieve their goal of reaching universal piped water connectivity.

The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (MHCP) reached out to the World Bank for funding to create the Nicaraguan Water and Sewerage Enterprise (ENACAL) in order to expand 15,798 water and 19,716 sewer connections to some of the poorest households.

Before ENACAL was launched, only 26.5 percent of households had access to piped water. Only 1.2 percent had in-house toilets. The majority of the population, more than 72 percent, used latrines. The remaining portion of the population concerned city officials the most, with more than 26 percent lacking access to any sanitation services.

Among the poorest neighborhoods, it was not uncommon to see raw sewage running down the streets. In other impoverished neighborhoods, even for those connected to piped-in water, service was less than reliable. Some households received water as infrequently as two hours per day.

Since collecting $20 million in credit and $20 million in grant money from the World Bank to get ENACAL operational, the project has improved service reliability for 161,896 Nicaraguans as well as increasing the overall financial sustainability of its operations.

The World Bank reported a little less than half of the money was used to expand and add additional infrastructure. The remainder of the funds were used to optimize technical efficiency and strengthen institutional activities.

Moving forward, ENACAL is developing the Master Plan for Operational Efficiency in Managua. This focuses on non-revenue water reduction and the optimization of energy efficiency.

With the assistance in the funding of $300 million from the World Bank and other international donors, continued improvements under the Program for Human Water and Sanitation will take place over the course of the next 15 years.

Thus far, ENACAL has benefited 62,295 residents and improved the percentage of households with access to water for 16 or more hours a day to 72 percent.

Claire Colby

Sources: Central America Data, World Bank
Photo: University of Colorado Boulder

access_to_clean_toilets

A new product, launched by a Delhi startup last year, gives women the ability to urinate while standing up.

The PeeBuddy is a single-use funnel created from paper that is both coated and waterproof. The funnel is seen as one possible solution to India’s lack of clean toilets.

The country is one of the worst in terms of access to clean toilets. A study released by the World Bank in 2013 showed that over 600 million people defecate without the use of a toilet. This figure corresponds to over 53% of households.

Even if women can find a public toilet to use, it is often dirty. As a result, it is common for them to drink less water, which can lead to health issues.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrated that dehydration was a primary factor in instigating headaches, loss of focus and fatigue.

By using the PeeBuddy and urinating while standing up, women in India are able to create a more hygienic atmosphere in an otherwise dirty bathroom. The startup’s website says the product is ideal for restaurants, nightclubs, public toilets and other popular destinations.

The idea for such a creation was born during a road trip consisting of four couples, according to Deep Bajaj, PeeBuddy’s founder.

During the trip from India’s capital territory to Jaipur, a city to the south in the Rajasthan state, Bajaj said the group made frequent stops to look for clean bathrooms, as only around one in five met the wives’ standards.

When one of the women on the trip commented how she wished she were in Europe so she could have access to a plastic device to use when encountering unsanitary toilets, Bajaj came up with the idea for the PeeBuddy.

The product is favored over others that have been produced because of the relatively cheap cost. A pack of 20 funnels costs 375 rupees (less than $6).

GoGirl, for example, is a reusable device made of silicone, but costs $9.99 each. Pee Pocket, also a disposable, coated-paper funnel, costs $24.99 for a 48-pack.

While some stores have been slow to put PeeBuddy on shelves, possibly because of the unusual product name, 20,000 packs had been sold through April of this year, due in large part to Amazon India.

The startup is also currently working with several corporations to help make the PeeBuddy more widely available.

Matt Austin Wotus

Sources: PeeBuddy, The Huffington Post 1, The Huffington Post 2, The Huffington Post 3, YourStory
Photo: My Choices

Congressmen Ted Poe (R-TX) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) recently introduced an important piece of legislation that may drastically improve the opportunity for every person in the developing world to access to clean water, toilets, and better hygiene practices.

The Water for the World Act of 2013, introduced by these two congressmen, is a bill that is trying to ensure that the world’s abject poor receive the attention they need from the United States in the attempt to seek improvements in clean water access and hygiene. It is important to note that this act does not seek to create new agencies or programs, but to improve the efficiency of existing programs. The emphasis is not on higher dollar amounts, but more strategic approaches in trying to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people.

Worldwide water sanitation holds important implications for those suffering in precarious conditions, as well as the global economy. The World Bank notes that water sanitation and hygiene programs are a great return on investment: For every $1 spent, $4 is returned in economic productivity, which contributes greatly to the world economy. If people do not have to worry about access to clean water, they can spend more time becoming educated, caring for their families, and contributing to both their economy and the worldwide economy. This would amount to over $220 billion being added to international trade each year.

Improvements in water sanitation, access, and hygiene that the Water for the World Act will try to effect will also significantly reduce transmissions of diseases such as pneumonia. Indirectly, rates of education will improve, as less people worldwide will suffer from malnutrition and diarrheal disease due to dirty water. As literacy rates increase, the rising middle class in developing countries will fight for more transparent and accountable governments. More responsible governance around the world is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy, but it cannot ever be realized if world populations are without access to clean water and sanitation.

Global water, sanitation, and hygiene programs currently constitute less than 1% of the budget of the United States Agency for International Development. Due to the bipartisan leadership of Poe and Blumenauer, their act will place a greater focus on enhancing the capacity of the U.S. government to provide for the world’s poorest, a much needed shift in policy which will stretch this 1% to help more people around the world.

Rahul Shah

Sources: Huffington Post, WASH Advocates, USAid

Matt Damon Toilet Strike

Dear Toilet,

It’s not you. It’s us.

Sincerely,

Matt Damon

Matt Damon broke up with his toilet…well at least until everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The Oscar-winning actor and co-founder of Water.org announced his toilet strike in a comedic video.

The video is a staged press conference with prominent comedians. It highlights society’s ignorance of the world water crisis and the underappreciation of toilets. 780 million people lack access to clean water.

Damon mentions how the toilet has saved more lives than any other invention, yet 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets or basic sanitation.  More people own cell phones than toilets. The “Matt Damon Toilet Strike” is designed to be less about him and more about people who lack the luxury of clean sanitation.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson released a statement that the world water crisis is something people “don’t like to talk about.” The United Nations aims to double the number of people with toilets by 2015.

The organization’s long-term plan is to “eliminate the practice of open defecation” by 2025.  This practice makes unsanitary water the number one killer of people worldwide.  In fact, children under the age of five are most likely to die from diarrhea-related diseases.

Water.org traded the traditional public service announcement model in hopes of creating a viral frenzy.

“If Sarah Silverman and I can generate millions of views on YouTube for something ridiculous, then we should be able to do better for one of the most important and solvable issues of our time,” Damon said.

The nonprofit has “been toying with [the idea of comedic videos] for a couple of years.”  Damon and the rest of Water.org believe viral videos can “generate new levels of awareness and participation in the cause.”

The announcement video is the first of 12 videos. The strike campaign’s other videos include: Damon breaking up with his toilet, other celebrities joining the strike, and John Elerick fighting to outdo Damon.  The video was filmed for free at YouTube’s L.A. studios as YouTube works to educate nonprofits about best practices for video campaigns.

Jessica Mason, YouTube spokeswoman, understands that views should not be the main concern for non-profits. “We want to help nonprofits raise awareness and turn that awareness into action.”

Water.org will continue using social media to further awarness.  The website features extensive social media integration.  It asks visitors to “lend” their social media accounts and allow Water.org to publish automatically until World Toilet Day on November 9, 2013.

For more information, visit strikewithme.org or tweet questions with #strikewithme.

Whitney M. Wyszynski

Source: Strike With Me