Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Water Supplies

I was at a conference last week headed by David Dollar, the World Bank Director of China and Mongolia. It was a really interesting, concise lecture and Dollar seemed really smart and well-informed. One thing he discussed that I found particularly intriguing involved the lack of potable water in Mongolia. Essentially, the water in Mongolia is gross and undrinkable. The World Bank, which, as I later learned, is "the world's largest external financier of water supply and sanitation," is trying to resolve this issue. Dollar said that right now in Mongolia, poor people pay 10 times as much for water as others do because they are not on "the network." Dollar feels that, although seemingly counter-intuitive, Mongolians pay too much for water right now, and if the prices were raised, that would allow water companies to expand the network, giving poor people access to water. Dollar also suggested a graduated system, so a certain amount of water, determined as a sufficient amount for daily ablutions, would not be expensive, but any water used beyond that would be. This, in his mind, would both encourage water conservation, and offer access to water to a maximum amount of people.

It all sounded really impressive to me. Then I happened upon this article by William Finnegan, from a 2002 New Yorker. It's about the World Bank initiating the same project in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and the same numbers, "poor people are paying 10 times as much for water as others" are used. There, the project seems entirely ineffective and, ultimately, expensive and beneficial only to the World Bank and the water companies.

I'm not sure what the best solution for Mongolia is in terms of water. I know that Lake Hovsgol in Northern Mongolia holds 1% of the world's fresh water, which makes it really crucial right now when the world is running out of drinking water. It also seems that Mongolia should be able to give its citizens access to fresh water when it has so much of it.


At 2:19 PM, Blogger scottactor said...


This is not in reply to your topic. I'm in need of your help if you can. I'm a filmmaker in the United States of America and making a short biblical movie. I've been looking everywhere for a water pouch similar to the ones used 2000 yearsa go by the desert people. It's made out of leather or the bladder of an animal. If you know what I'm looking for and can help please relpy back as soon as possible. I'd also need to know the price of the bag even if it's used and the shipping to the United States. Thank you for your time and help if you can.

Mr. Scott

At 7:37 PM, Blogger samraat said...


Post a Comment

<< Home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.