Domestic water and sanitation as water security: monitoring, concepts and strategy

Domestic water and sanitation as water security: monitoring, concepts and strategy. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 13 November 2013.

David J. Bradley and Jamie K. Bartram

Domestic water and sanitation provide examples of a situation where long-term, target-driven efforts have been launched with the objective of reducing the proportion of people who are water-insecure, most recently through the millennium development goals (MDGs) framework. Impacts of these efforts have been monitored by an increasingly evidence-based system, and plans for the next period of international policy, which are likely to aim at universal coverage with basic water and sanitation, are being currently developed. As distinct from many other domains to which the concept of water security is applied, domestic or personal water security requires a perspective that incorporates the reciprocal notions of provision and risk, as the current status of domestic water and sanitation security is dominated by deficiency.

This paper reviews the interaction of science and technology with policies, practice and monitoring, and explores how far domestic water can helpfully fit into the proposed concept of water security, how that is best defined, and how far the human right to water affects the situation. It is considered that they fit well together in terms both of practical planning of targets and indicators and as a conceptual framework to help development. The focus needs to be broad, to extend beyond households, to emphasize maintenance as well as construction and to increase equity of access. International and subnational monitoring need to interact, and monitoring results need to be meaningful to service providers as well as users.

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