The post-coronavirus recovery will offer a chance to improve water security for the world’s neediest people
Access to clean water for washing hands has been the first line of defence during the Covid-19 pandemic. This has made water security a renewed priority for development assistance and for investment in resilience. As governments and health agencies look to invest in better hygiene standards to protect against future diseases, more resources are likely to be directed towards meeting immediate needs by installing more pipes, taps and wells.
But delivering water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is much more complex than providing infrastructure alone, and is a vital part of the much broader challenge of managing water as a critical resource that cuts across all sectors of society. Multiple needs for water – from agriculture to sanitation and consumption – often put pressure on supplies, which are already being increasingly threatened by climate change and population growth as the world’s global commons are overexploited. So coordination across sectors in how water use is managed is growing ever more important.