Performance the best way of debunking fallacies about water
A new water culture is desirable to deal with the numerous challenges the sector faces today. Writing in the year 2001, Jean Margat says there are three deeply rooted ideas about water that are inherently false: that water is unlimited and inexhaustible; that water has an essentially purifying function; and finally, that water is looked upon as a gift from heaven, in both the literal and metaphorical sense, and is therefore necessarily free. In Towards a New Water Culture, Margat says we must break with these preconceptions because water resources are neither unlimited nor invulnerable. I could not agree more.
The demand for water services continues to increase, driven by the growing population, urbanisation, and climate change. Climate change puts a strain on water availability. Thus, water resources are exhaustible. To improve access, we have to start by recognizing this challenge.
Formalization means that services are provided by licensed utilities. This is important for accountability and sustainability. Professionalization and commercialization imply that at the local level there is a clear separation between politics and service provision. This implies that utilities have to operate on business principles.
Water cannot be a gift from heaven… all of us need to work to make it available. Thus, it cannot be free. The inclusion of the right to water and sanitation in the Constitution of Kenya puts demands on all actors to deliver on their obligations. The actors in the achievement of the right to water and sanitation are the State, sector institutions and consumers, all of who are expected to fulfil their obligations.