Water & Urban Children
Children in urban settings face a different set of challenges as compared to their rural counterparts when it comes to clean water. Despite the availability of piped water and water systems for urban populations, many families and children, especially in areas with high levels of poverty, do not have adequate access to such services.
As reported in UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children 2012 (SOWC) publication, many people in the poorest urban districts are forced to walk to collect water from other neighbourhoods or to buy it from private vendors. It is common for the urban poor to pay up to 50 times more for a litre of water than their richer neighbours, who have access to water mains.
Inadequate access to safe drinking water and sanitation services puts children in at increased risk of illness, undernutrition and even death. The SOWC report notes that studies demonstrate that in many countries, children living in urban poverty actually fare as badly as or worse than children living in rural poverty in terms of height-for-weight (a measure of acute malnutrition or wasting) and under-five mortality. In short, the threats posed by inadequate clean water and sanitation have dire consequences for children’s physical, cognitive, and educational development.
Read about the UNICEF response to water-related issues affecting children