Improving access to water treatment in poor and remote areas can help improve women’s chances in life
Climate change can cause negative environmental impacts that lead to the progressive degradation of ecological systems over time, with dire consequences for regions and communities that depend on natural resources for their survival.
While all members of a population are affected by the impacts of climate change to some degree, women and girls — particularly those living in rural areas in poorer countries — are the most vulnerable of all.
Impacts from floods, landslides, droughts, and cyclones can negatively affect agriculture and food security, water resources and water security, and the integrity of ecosystems, resulting in a loss of biodiversity that can have further implications for food security, human health, and more.
Water Scarcity, Poor Crop Yields Place Heavier Burdens on Women
Climate change and gender equality are highly interconnected. In many poor, rural areas around the world, communities are highly dependent on natural resources for their survival. Women are typically tasked with fetching drinking water from local water sources, cultivating food for their families, and collecting firewood for cooking food and boiling water.
Climate change can lead to poor crop yields and scarcity of other traditional food sources, causing many women to lose their only sources of food and income.
Because many rural communities do not have access to basic services such as clean water and sanitation, electricity, or modern forms of transportation, this often means women have to walk great distances in search of water and firewood. This becomes even more challenging during extreme weather events or when these resources are scarce.
There is good news, however. Investors are more and more interested in investing in assets and projects that combat climate change and improve gender equality. Three key areas where interested investors can help address these issues are:
- Water scarcity.
- Natural disasters.
- Access to electricity.
Providing access to services including water and electricity will cut down time women spend collecting water and firewood. Investing in projects that curb natural disasters such as drought can reduce the time women spend on unpaid domestic chores or trying to keep crops alive, which limit their ability to receive an equal education or seek paid employment.
Improving Access to Clean Water
One of the most pressing issues globally is access to clean water and sanitation. It is estimated that 1.7 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, and this is likely to worsen due to water scarcity induced by climate change, salt water intrusion, and increased pollution of waterways due to runoff.
Investing in water and wastewater infrastructure not only improves access to clean water and sanitation for both men and women, but it can also play a significant role in improving gender equality.
While limited budgets are often a key constraint to providing poor rural communities with access to clean water and sanitation, there are viable options.
With creative financing models, such as the public-private partnerships offered by Seven Seas Water Group’s Water-as-a-Service®, critical water and wastewater infrastructure can be delivered to rural communities at no upfront cost. Expert water professionals plan, design, build, and operate plants, with public partners paying only for the water or services they receive.
Seven Seas offers decentralized drinking water and wastewater treatment solutions, including water recycling options that treat wastewater for reuse in irrigation. Wastewater is a renewable resource that can also help rural communities improve water and food security, and combat impacts associated with drought.
Through its Lease Plant Program, Seven Seas offers short- and long-term lease arrangements (with the option to purchase) for our portable, modular water and wastewater treatment plants, which are also suitable for providing temporary water and wastewater treatment services during natural disasters.
Contact Seven Seas to learn more about our Water-as-a-Service® partnerships and how we can help improve water security in rural communities.
Image Credit: borgogniels/123RF