Thursday, January 14, 2016

Drought in Botswana, a learning opportunity to achieve water security – UN expert

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller, today urged the Government of Botswana to take the current extreme drought as an opportunity to develop a comprehensive strategy for providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation in the foreseen increasing water stress.

“The current drought should not be considered as a sporadic event, but rather as a driver for acquiring water security as a national priority,” the independent expert stressed at the end of a nine-day official visit* to Botswana. “A strategic and participatory process, oriented to the provision of water and sanitation for all, will be a short-cut to prevent illnesses and deaths related to water-borne diseases and economic losses.”

A significant part of the population is currently facing a severe water shortage due to a long drought in the country. People in Greater Gaborone Area and other cities are under starker water rationing, with several consecutive days in a week without any supply. “Such a measure hits the poor and the vulnerable hardest,” Mr. Heller said noting that the situation raises serious human rights concerns of water quality, water quantity and related health impacts.

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