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CWSC leads discussion to define and achieve "access" to water and sanitation for all.

Wednesday 7 April 2021

The Center for Water Security and Cooperation has published two discussion papers seeking to define and reinvigorate efforts to achieve and maintain access to water and sanitation for all.

In Access Defined: Linking Source, Shelter, and Service, the CWSC defines "access to water" and "access to sanitation". Without a clear, actionable definition for access, universal access to water and sanitation will remain a goal, not an achievement. Ensuring access requires guaranteeing both physical access and economic access. To secure physical access, three conditions must be met: 1) sufficient water resources, 2) infrastructure to receive water and sanitation in the home, and 3) good quality water and sanitation services. To guarantee economic access, access to water and sanitation services cannot be denied for an inability to pay.

In Ending water shutoffs: Deconstructing the law's punishment of poverty, the CWSC illustrates how laws in the United States, not affordability, cause low-income households to lose access to water and wastewater. Existing laws allow for water to be terminated for nonpayment against households without the financial means to pay their water bills. Ending legalized water shutoffs against families who cannot pay will ensure more equitable access to water.

Read the papers to learn more, discuss, and engage.

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