Prof. Aseem Prakash on The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage blog,
March 22 is the World Water Day – an annual call to action to help the millions of people who lack access to safe water sources. Water availability is an important global policy objective, listed as U.N. sustainable Development Goal (SDG) # 6: “ensure access to water and sanitation for all” by 2030. But climate change is making water availability less predictable. Droughts are often followed by extreme precipitation that does not sufficiently recharge groundwater, leading to water runoff and contaminated water sources. More than 2 billion people are now living in countries experiencing high water stress.
Biden called climate change an ‘existential threat.’ Can the U.N. Security Council help? But utilities and governments don’t simply invest in water infrastructure in the most water-fragile areas. Our recent paper shows that politics shape government decisions about water. We find that democracies worldwide lead the way in providing equitable access to clean water. Thus, in the time of democratic recession, World Water Day highlights how democracy remains a pillar of sustainable development.