Histoire d’eau

CHAPEL HILL, ÉTATS-UNIS – En dépit de progrès récents, plus d’un milliard de personnes manquent encore d’un approvisionnement correct en eau et plus de deux milliards sont sans installations d’assainissement. Toutefois, bien que nous pensons souvent que l’amélioration de l’approvisionnement en eau et de l’assainissement est un bienfait qui dépasse largement les frais qu’il engendre, cela ne se vérifie pas toujours.

Les canalisations d’eau et les réseaux d’assainissement coûtent cher. Dans la plupart des pays, les consommateurs ne s’en rendent pas compte parce que les coûts réels sont supportés par les administrations. De nouvelles recherches menées pour le Consensus de Copenhague ont montré que le coût total de l’acheminement d’eau à un foyer s’élève à 80 $ par mois – soit un prix plus élevé que ce que paient les ménages des pays riches et bien au-dessus de ce que peuvent se permettre la plupart des familles des pays en développement. Si l’on considère que les pauvres utilisent beaucoup moins d’eau, le coût mensuel des infrastructures chute à 20 $ – ce qui est encore une dépense considérable.

Si nous calculons le temps et l’énergie dépensés dans les pays en développement pour recueillir, traiter, stocker l’eau et les problèmes de santé causés par le manque d’eau potable et d’assainissement, les coûts engendrés par la création d’un réseau d’eau potable et d’un système d’égouts restent supérieurs aux bénéfices que l’on peut en tirer. Dépenser de grosses sommes d’argent pour faire un bien minime n’est pas un bon investissement.

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