Experts: Water, sanitation a must
KATHMANDU, Aug 22 – Experts on Friday appealed to the government to establish water and sanitation as fundamental rights in the new constitution. They want a high-level political statement that water and sanitation are also he government’s priorities.
At the current rate of progress, the government will miss its ambitious target of providing water and sanitation to all by 2017. “There is need for urgent action to meet the target in the given time,” said Rabin Lal Shrestha, research and advocacy manager at WaterAid in Nepal.
According to Basanta Adhikari, legal expert, incorporation of water and sanitation as constitutional rights will help enforce a legal framework and take the government towards progressive realisation of the goal of providing safe water and sanitation to all.
At the same time, constitutional reorganisation will benefit citizens enabling them to claim their fundamental rights.
Adhikari said, the country has already signed different international conventions on water and sanitation. It however lags behind in the implementation aspects. Among countries that have already recognised water and sanitation as constitutional rights are Bangladesh, South Africa, Honduras, Algeria and Kenya, among others.
According to a report of WaterAid in Nepal, about 14.2 million people do not have access to sanitation and 7.1 million lack access to safe drinking water in Nepal.
Meanwhile, more than 50 percent population without sanitation and almost two thirds of the population without safe drinking water live in the Tarai, a region that lacks infrastructure and services to access to water and sanitation.
The population of Nepal is expected to grow to 31 million by 2015, much of the increase will be in urban areas, which are already severely water stressed. With increasing population, the challenges faced by the government in providing water and sanitation facilities to the increasing population will become greater.
The report further states that diseases caused by inadequate access to water and sanitation are responsible for 10,500 child deaths in Nepal each year.