Tuesday, June 2, 2009

World Water Crisis Having Unexpected Results

Photo courtesy of magnusfranklin.

This is one result of the global water crisis that we in the western world have not taken into consideration. However, if there were a more compelling reason to help get water to villages in the developing world, I don’t know what it is.

In the developing world the distance between villages and drinkable water is becoming ever more burdensome for the women and children who are the main gatherers of this precious liquid. In some villages, the trip to drinkable water is 2 hours each way and must be made more than once a day. The number of trips depends on the water consumption of the family and the amount of water the women and children can carry over long, rough terrain.

For centuries, women in the country of Kamuli (and many other countries) have been fetching water for home and field use. However, the water shortages have forced wives to travel long distances to collect drinkable water. The problem lies within the cultural norms in India. Husbands attribute the women being gone so long with love affairs or other indiscretions. This has led to domestic violence and divorce in many families.

In a twist of culture that benefits no one, few women receive formal water management education even though they are primary water keepers of the country. India still considers the knowledge a man’s business.

Circle of Blue reports:
Parliament Deputy Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told delegates from the World Malayalee Council — an Indian nongovernmental organization — that the water depletion in Kamuli had led to many women being divorced and beaten by their husbands.

“Kamuli has 18 sub-counties and over 100 parishes, but there are cases where four villages share one water source and others do not have,” Kadaga added.
We may look at this situation and say there is no excuse for violence; but, unfortunately, this is just one of the many instances in which violence will be sparked by water shortages.

More from Circle of Blue/Water News:
Gender inequality was a major theme at the 5th World Water Forum held in Istanbul in March this year. At a special gender session, delegates to the forum discussed the impact of unequal gender roles for the health, dignity and social progress of women, particularly in less developed societies.

Photo courtesy Circle of Blue/Water News.

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