2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:10 AM


BRESLIN, Edward, Water For People, 6666 W. Quincy Avenue, Denver, CO 80210, nbreslin@waterforpeople.org

Over 1.2 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water, a number that is in fact growing despite global efforts to address this calamity. Global MDG targets are already falling off track, and poor people worldwide will continue to become sick, spend inordinate amounts of time collecting water and suffer because they can not access clean water regularly.

Despite global efforts to address this problem, water system sustainability remains elusive. In Africa, up to 65% of rural water systems are broken on any given day. In Asia, water quality is continuing to decline. Urban centers and small towns are growing worldwide but water systems are unable to meet this demand. The challenge is considerable.

The paper will draw upon the lessons of good programming internationally, and challenge some of the assumptions being made in the water sector that the situation is being addressed. The paper will question the project-by-project approach that is common throughout the USA and call for a more strategic approach to water supply based on key principles of project sustainability that are, at present, not being considered by groups wanting to improve the situation of communities in the developing world but unable to do so within the framework of a "project". The paper will call for a reconsideration of established practice in the USA based on results from the field.