Published on: 20/11/2017
The drive for reaching SDG 6 has created a big demand from private safe water businesses to help governments supply safe water.
Amanda Loeffen, General Director of WaterLex, believes that one of the key contributing factors for the private sector to come into the water business is that countries are struggling to move fast enough on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. There is an increasing demand for safe water services and it is the obligation of the State or Government to supply it, as clearly stated in the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation (HRWS). As progress is slow, the private sector is starting to respond to the need.
A governance structure that incorporates the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation can contribute to creating an enabling environment for businesses aiming to provide WASH services. In an effort to support the work of small service providers of household water treatment and safe storage businesses, WaterLex has, together with the Safe Water Programme, developed a checklist for small water entrepreneurs to enable greater compliance with HRWS.
Apart from the SDG principles of community engagement, access to information and water quality and acceptability, two further HRWS fundamentals need to be adhered to:
Legal or illegal
Safe water businesses need to apply local laws. In a country where there is little or no regulation to support the private sector to deliver WASH products and services, these activities are unlikely to support human rights, and in the worst case, could be considered illegal. However, if these small businesses can operate in a way that meets the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation government should be able to support private sector solutions, knowing that there is control over quality and affordability and making sure that vulnerable people are being supplied.
Safe water businesses in countries encounter a number of challenges if they fail to address the HRWS fundamentals:
Tips for safe water businesses:
This article is based on an interview with Amanda Loeffen, General Director of WaterLex. The interview took place in September 2017 during a national workshop on Accelerating Universal and Equitable Access to Safe Drinking Water in Kathmandu, Nepal.
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