I sometimes feel a twinge of guilt about the water issues that so obsess us here in the Southwestern United States. Most of us have running water in our homes. It’s remarkably free of contaminants and pathogens. The arguments we have are generally about how to distribute this bounty, not whether we have it at all. Today’s reminder, from the Economist:
Pigs rootle fastidiously through the foothills of the mountain of rubbish dumped at Tuol Sen Chey on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. A few metres away, cross-legged amid the clouds of flies and shaded from a fierce sun by a broad-brimmed hat, Tim Chan Tha is sifting and flattening used plastic bags for recycling. A widow with three children, she earns about 6,000 riels ($1.50) a day for this. She lives nearby down muddy dirt roads, in a cluster of ramshackle huts of corrugated iron, salvaged wood and tarpaulins. Ms Tha’s life seems as miserable an example of urban poverty as could be found anywhere.
In one respect, however, she is lucky. Her home has a constant supply of running water, drinkable straight from the standpipe outside.
The substance here, if you’ll allow a pivot to the underlying issue we and Tim Chan Tha have in common, is that our success or failure in dealing with our respective water issues is a matter of governance.
(h/t the Water Wonkette)