水管之梦

查布尔希尔,北卡罗来纳——尽管近年来取得了不少成绩,但仍然有超过10亿人无法获得像样的供水,更有超过20亿人得不到公共卫生服务。可尽管我们通常认为改善供水和卫生系统的收益肯定可以超过它的成本,但实际情况却并不总是如此。

建设管道供水和公共卫生网络耗资非常昂贵。绝大多数国家的消费者对此缺乏认识,因为真正的成本通常都隐藏在政府津贴的背后不为人知。《哥本哈根共识》的全新研究揭示了为单个家庭提供管道用水的全部成本高达每月80美元——这一数字超过了富裕国家中多数家庭所要支付的费用,更是远远高于发展中国家多数家庭的承受能力。即使假设穷人用水量比富人要少很多,从而把传统网络供水技术的成本降低到每月20美元——这仍然是一笔可观的费用。

如果我们把发展中国家收集、处理和储存水资源过程中所耗费的时间和能源、以及没有像样的饮用水和公共卫生设备所带来的健康损害两相比较,那么建设典型的供水和下水网络的成本甚至可能超过从中获得的收益。耗费巨额开支获取很少的收益恐怕算不上是好的投资。

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