Clean water is a precious resource that many people do not have available. Building wells within communities could be one way to provide clean water for more individuals and their families. Community wells are expensive but many organizations are working towards raising funds to build them where they are most needed. Community solidarity and government participation in reaching the goal of providing clean water is crucial to its success. By also increasing awareness, creating abundance of water can be achieved.
Context within NORA
Relationship to other Resources
Clean water is not yet available to everyone and waterborne illnesses are of great concern. By providing clean water, people can live happier, healthier lives.
Water borne illness is a serious threat to health. With the construction of more water wells in communities, people will not have to resort to drinking diseased water.
Security can be found in knowing one can provide fresh water for their families.
Having to find water takes away from Being at Home and the duties there. With local wells communities can spend more time on different duties.
Food often requires water for cooking and without this resource, individuals have a difficult time providing meals.
Without having to worry about this basic need can allow people to lead more Meaningful Livelihoods because they can devote their time to other necessary functions.
Communities must come together and incorporate decision-making skills to come up with the funds to build wells for community use and to allocate the wells resources.
Community wells allows for more time to devote to household needs, family life, and time for self.
By providing wells in the community, individuals have better access to Self provisioning; they can easily provide clean water for themselves and their families.
The Natural resource management cluster is applicable in that they can tap into the resources they have in underground water that they did not have access to before the wells were installed.
Providing the community with clean water also falls in the Community solidarity cluster. Communities can come together and have enough clean water for everyone.
Understanding Current Patterns of Abundance and scarcity
Justine Lacey writes that, "The issue of equity in water decision making and distribution has emerged as one of the most pressing concerns with regard to matters of fairness and sustainability in allocation" (Lacey 2008). The lack of water equity is what makes a scarcity of this resource. If allocated equally for all needs, there would be an abundance of water for everyone. Communities must come together to find there own sources of water and provide within the community because they cannot depend on government regulations to leave enough water for them.
Several communities today still do not have access to clean water. There is a scarcity of usable water. Some communities are forced to share the water source with livestock which is completely unsanitary and can cause a number of illnesses. Other communities must walk long distances every day in order to obtain clean water, and sometimes even this water is not clean. With the continuation of degradation to the environment, clean water is becoming harder and harder to come by for these communities that are already struggling. By providing these communities with wells, they can have an abundance of clean water which will reduce the number of water-borne illnesses. In desert like areas finding ground water or collecting rain water is not an adequate way to provide water for the community. With a scarcity of easily accessible water it is necessary for these communities to find water elsewhere which can be made easier will community water wells. Once water has been made abundant, communities can decide among themselves how to allocate this resource and may be able to advance agriculturally by using some of the water towards this goal. In some areas water is scarce due to it's usage not being regulated. Zlolniski writes, "The extensive pumping of groundwater for agricultural production has been recognized as a key factor leading to water scarcity in many regions throughout the world. The concept of water scarcity, however, not only refers to the dynamics of supply and demand but also includes the economic values and cultural meanings that different social groups ascribe to this resource and their differential power to control its distribution" (Zlolniski 2011). There has been a power struggle over water resources and unfortunately, those without power suffer the consequences of the actions of those in power. Many governments are profit focused and decide to use water resources to promote agriculture over providing water for its citizens.
Strengths and Weaknesses
I looked at several articles discussing water equality and found that the biggest source of concern was how much water is allocated for agriculture. So much water is pumped out of the ground to use for agriculture that it does not leave enough water behind for other necessities. Governments continue to build the agriculture sector because it brings in money to the country and have not been concerned with the effects this is having. One author writes that, "The extensive pumping of groundwater for agricultural production has been recognized as a key factor leading to water scarcity in many regions throughout the world. The concept of water scarcity, however, not only refers to the dynamics of supply and demand but also includes the economic values and cultural meanings that different social groups ascribe to this resource and their differential power to control its distribution" (Zlolniski 2011). It is very unfortunate that as of yet, the government and communities have no reached an agreement on water allocation but it is also not surprising. Governments, along with big corporations, tend to be profit driven and are reluctant to change if it will affect their profit. I propose the best option for communities is for them to come together and allocate the water resources they do have among themselves.
Community solidarity is an important factor in proving clean water. If one family uses a lot more water than is allocated then their actions will affect all of the other individuals living in the area. Awareness in areas where resources are more abundant is necessary too. Some communities simply cannot provide for themselves because they lack the resources to do so. This is where other communities can come in and help. Funds can be raised to go towards building wells in areas that lack surface water. Those interested in legislation can begin to work with governments to find a way to ensure water is being allocated fairly. Water equity has been a concern for many years now and I do no expect it to change overnight but with persistence, equality can be reached.
Approaches to creating greater abundance
There are several organizations working towards providing clean water for all communities. Unfortunately building wells is expensive, especially in areas where water is farther down. By raising awareness and funds more work can be done to build more wells to provide water for more communities. So far the main source of funding for community wells has come from non-profit organizations who have received donations towards making water more abundant. This goal may be more achievable if governments allocated some of their funding towards building wells. According to Christian Zlolniski, "the export of fresh fruits and vegetables has become a global strategy for economic development in many developing countries" (Zlolniski 2011). With an increase of water people in developing countries have a better chance at producing and selling fresh vegetables and may eventually be able to increase the average income as well as provide food for their families. However, water must be regulated well so communities still are able to use it for consumption, bathing, and cooking, not just for agriculture.
Lacey's research provides one approach to creating greater abundance of water. Research shows that, "For Nussbaum, capabilities represent more adequate measures of the equitable distribution of resources and opportunities. The capabilities approach explicitly recognises that individuals have quite different and specific needs according to their particular circumstances or life stages" (Lacey 2008). The capabilities approach assesses each community individually according to their needs. This approach can divide water usage equally across the area where there is a water shortage. The question here is if there is actually a water shortage or if resources just are not being used well. In the areas where there is a concern of water shortage, funds could go to these areas first to build wells for the community. With coroperation of governments and non-profit organizations, leaps and bounds could be made towards providing clean water for all communities.
Links and Stories
Lacey, Justine. 2008. Utilizing Diversity to Achieve Water Equity. Rural Society. Vol 18.
Stedman, Richard, Lee, Brian, Brasier, Kathryn, Weigle, Jason, & Higdon, Francis. 2009. Cleaning Up Water? Or Building Rural Community? Community Watershed Organizations in Pennsylvania. Rural Sociological Society.
Zlolniski, Christian. 2011. Water Flowing North of the Borer: Export Agriculture and Water Politics in a Rural Community in Baja California. CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, Vol.26, Issue 4, pp.565–588. American Anthropological Association.
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