Episode 1 of Dairies from self-quarantine: Lessons Learned in water sector

By Eng. Djalia Umutangampundu CONTRIBUTOR (Opinions expressed by YOH contributors are their own.)

In the wake up to COVID-19 pandemic and the call by health experts for self-isolation and quarantine as one measure to flattening, the rising tolls of deaths and infections related to the virus. Engineer. Djalia Umutangampundu , a research intern at African Water Association and a master of Science Water Policy student at the  Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) in Algeria, has been chronicling a series on the impact of Coronavirus/ COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)  on the water sector and implications for stakeholders.

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In the Picture: Eng. Djalia Umutangampundu

The need for a regular supply of water in these days is more than crucial.

According to an independent review of water sector reforms in sub-Saharan Africa commissioned by GIZ in 2018, the situation of water and sanitation is becoming more precarious mainly due to increasing population growth, especially in urban areas, with estimations pegged at approximately 1.3 billion by 2050. During this period, the whole world is being called upon to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to hygienic practices like washing hands, cleaning clothes as well as other suspected materials and applying hand sanitizer (the later may be expensive based on the country’s economy). Unfortunately, the clarion call for washing hands is a burden for people living in water-scarce regions ( here referred to, are regions with insufficient means of extracting water or with no water at all) where people struggle to get clean water for necessary activities such as drinking and cooking.

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In this Picture: Women fetching water (Photo was taken by AfriAlliance)

The unanswered question is, how will the over 780 million and 2.5 billion people who lack access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation respectively be able to couple with this directive or call?. The global pandemic may undoubtedly trigger a lot of socio-economic damages, but on the other hand, it will leave a spotlight on sectors where enforcement is necessary. Arguably, for the world to halt the spread of  COVID-19 means that 100% water coverage and regular supply will be paramount, which explains why access to a quality water supply is a fundamental human right.

To be continued…

ENG. DJALIA UMUTANGAMPUNDU a research intern at African Water Association and a Master of Science Water Policy student at the Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) in Algeria.

Eng. Djalia hail from Kigali, Rwanda

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