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Water Way to Spend World Water Day

22 March 2012 9:00

Pictured supporting the cause is Ross Power from Belvoir Park PS with Minister Danny Kennedy and Ciaran Sadlier from Scoil na Fuiseoige | NI Water News
To celebrate World Water Day on March 22nd, NI Water teamed up with WaterAid and members of the Stormont Executive to raise awareness of the fact that over 11% of the world’s population do not have access to safe, clean drinking water and a further 35% with no access to sanitation.

In Northern Ireland, water is plentiful, and we are lucky that we have clean drinking water on tap and somewhere safe to go to the toilet.

NI Water’s Honorary Secretary for WaterAid, Frank Stewart explains:

“NI Water provides drinking water to over 800,000 properties every day so we as an organisation realise just how important this precious resource is. Each person on average uses around 150 litres a day but it is often taken for granted and we expect it to be there when we turn on the tap. When it is not, even for only a few hours, we get a glimpse of what it would be like to live without it.

“Unfortunately, 783 million people live without clean water every single day, often resorting to drinking dirty, unsanitary water or walking miles to get just one jerry can for a whole family to use. Preventable diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation are the biggest killer of children in Africa, and illness and hours spent collecting water from distant sources keep children out of school and prevent adults from earning a living.”

Calling on the public to back the campaign, Minister Kennedy said: “Safe water and sanitation transform lives, improving health and lifting communities out of poverty. Supporting WaterAid is a simple action we can all take to highlight the vital importance of these basic necessities for development. I’ll be encouraging my fellow MLAs to show their support.”

Mr Kennedy made his pledge of support just days after the United Nations announced that the Millennium Development Goal on water has been reached. An additional two billion people have accessed clean water within the last 20 years.

“It is great news that we have met the Millennium Development Goal on water – this shows that aid is working and that we are making steps forward to eradicating poverty,” said Mr Kennedy. “There is still much work to be done however, as 783 million people still don’t have safe water to drink, and around 2.5 billion are lacking adequate sanitation. The UK has a lead role to play along with other countries to concentrate our efforts on bringing water and sanitation to all.”

Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said: “We want everyone to back our Water Works campaign and we are extremely grateful for Danny Kennedy’s support. WaterAid will do all we can to reach some of the most marginalized communities in developing countries. However this world crisis in sanitation and water coverage will only be addressed if governments show leadership. Progress is far too slow and it will currently take around 350 years for everyone in Africa to have access to something as basic as adequate sanitation. This just isn’t acceptable, and we want the public to also say this loud and clear by showing that Water Works.”

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