Nairobi: Too little water, too much inequality

Amina writes*

Nairobi, Kenya is one of the world’s many fast-growing cities facing severe water shortages. Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) currently serves only 72 percent [pdf] of the city’s population, forcing many residents to rely on unsafe and higher priced water from kiosks and private vendors. When it comes to water, Nairobi suffers from poor governance, underinvestment and persistent regional inequality.

Tap water in Nairobi is not always safe, but the biggest issue concerning Nairobi’s water scarcity is the way in which pricing perpetuates regional discrimination and inequality. The NCWSC uses an increased block tariff, but this does not account for the initial set-up costs that most of the cities’ poor simply cannot afford. Another reason why the city’s water network is inaccessible to the poor is the need to make monthly payments. Residents of informal settlements are often paid in daily wages, so they have a hard time paying large monthly charges.

An alternative to tap water was presented in 2015 by placing water ATMs in the cities slums, accessible to residents by using a smart card. This solution was, however, both unsustainable and unreliable. The placement of water ATM’s does not tackle the inequality of infrastructure in Nairobi nor are the tanks always full, which makes them untrustworthy in times of scarcity.

As a result, the residents of Nairobi’s informal settlements are compelled to purchase their water from private vendors. These vendors, however, charge Ksh2 – 50 (€0,015–0,38) for a (20L) jerrycan that would cost  Ksh4 (€0,03 €) from the NCWSC. Research has shown that dependence on private water vendors is positively correlated with poverty. The poor pay more to get water that’s dirtier than that consumed by the wealthier residents using NCWSC water.

Regional inequality contributes to these problems. Spatial segregation dating from colonialism means water solution providers invest in higher income neighborhoods instead of informal settlements.

Nairobi began rationing water in 2016 to cope with excess demand. In 2018, only 40% of residents had 24/7 supply. With rationing targeting 3 out of 4 quarters, inequality continues.

Yet, there might be better times ahead, as the Kenyan government has committed itself to sustainable development goal 6, ensuring availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030. But how this objective will be realized when broken promises are the norm in Nairobi? The NCWSC plans to bring 80% water coverage [pdf] to Nairobi’s citizens by 2022, but they failed to meet that objective with a 2018 deadline. Water supply projects have been announced, but they lack funding and miss sustainability targets, according to experts.

Bottom Line: Water is currently continuing Nairobi’s regional inequality due to the city’s rapid growth, urban planning failings and colonial heritage.


* Please help my Water Scarcity students by commenting on unclear analysis, alternative perspectives, better data sources, or maybe just saying something nice 🙂

Can Thailand manage its future water?

Sasja writes*

During the summer of 2020, Thailand experienced one if the worst droughts in 40 years, while floods at the end of that same year lead to at least eight districts of the Yala Province being underwater (Thai Enquirer). Thailand has issued a series of national plans over the past 50 years to tackle droughts, floods, and growing demand for water for agricultural and economic activities. Improvements have been made such has building up and expanding irrigation constructions, using water sources more efficiently, encouraging the involvement of the private sector, managing demand by taxing water, and switching from a project-based approach to a more centralized approach with more guidelines (and later switching to a project-to project approach again, as the top-down management proved unsuccessful). These steps have improved the situation, but national plans have not overcome demand growing with the economy and population or weak coordination between organizations (FAO).

Thailand recently implemented a 20-year masterplan for water management to resolve its chronic drought, flood and wastewater problems. The masterplan, which will focus on supplying clean water, solving floods, building dams and restoring watershed areas, is the one of four pillars. The remaining three consist of the Water Resources Act, reducing redundancy, and developing new ideas and technologies to address problems (Bangkok Post).

The government is willing to invest in good water management, but the Thai government must provide bigger budgets and improve communication between River Basin Committees (RBCs) and National Water Resource Committee (NWRC). Moreover, RBCs need clear directives and freedom from interference from national and local governments if they are to succeed at managing local waters. The roles and responsibilities of RBCs in relation to other agencies must be clarified. If these issues are tackled, the RBCs can benefit from the help and diversity of stakeholders in understanding and managing water issues.

Counterintuitively, it is also recommended to not have a holistic view of all natural resources. Instead, the focus should be on water, with the option to include other natural resources later in the process. Second, Integrated Water Management (IWRM) capacities need to also be strengthened at the Department of Water Resources and Ministry of National Resources and Environment. Third, priority basins need to integrate community activities and priorities with IWRM-driven investment projects (World Bank).

Bottom Line: Existing structures must be strengthened and given clear directives so they can support bottom-up cooperation with local communities.


* Please help my Water Scarcity students by commenting on unclear analysis, alternative perspectives, better data sources, or maybe just saying something nice 🙂

Desalination and water scarcity in Dubai

Ian writes*

A few years ago, I was shocked to learn that bottled water is more expensive than bottled cola when transferring at Dubai International Airport. This exemplifies that physical water scarcity challenge Dubai is currently facing. Climate, geography, and population impact Dubai’s water management. Dubai has a “BWh climate” according to the Köppen Classification, characterized by extremely hot and arid summers where the yearly precipitation is less than 100mm. With little precipitation but intense evaporation, natural surface water (beside the Dubai Creek) is nonexistent in Dubai. Average residential water consumption per capita per day is around 270 liters, this figure is much lower than the US average but much higher than the global average (FAO). The aquifers beneath Dubai cannot meet the demand of 3.4 million residents and the commercial/ industrial sectors (Dubai Statistics Center 2021). Situated along the Persian Gulf, desalinated water meets 99.5% of demand (DEWA Annual Statistics 2019).

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) vertically integrates water governance in Dubai, from extraction and desalination to distribution and wastewater treatment. Dubai’s desalination plants use two technologies: multi-stage flash distillation (MSF) and reverse osmosis (RO) (DEWA Annual Statistics 2019). Six plants use MSF (DEWA Annual Statistics 2019). MSF involves multiple stages of flash distillation in which seawater is heated by steam that is cooled and collected from remaining saltwater, and the process repeats until only pure water and brine are left (Atherton 2017). RO uses membranes and pressure to filter saltwater (Atherton 2017). Dubai’s one RO-desalination plant accounts for 5.3% of desalination capacity (DEWA Annual Statistics 2019), but DEWA plans to increase that figure to 41% by 2030 because RO requires less energy than MSF (Khaleej Times 2021).

Cost, energy, and pollution are the three main drawbacks of desalination. Firstly, water desalination is the only viable option for large scale water consumption in Dubai because of the natural limitation of the surrounding watershed so higher costs are inevitable. Secondly, desalination is extremely energy intensive. Natural gas peers Dubai’s plants (Power Technology), so DEWA imposes a fuel surcharge of $0.0002395 per liter to partially reflect those costs (DEWA 2021). Third and arguably most important, desalination produces 50 percent more brine than clean water after (Jones et al. 2019). Since brine has a higher salt concentration than sea water, it can disrupt marine ecosystems. In addition, toxic elements such as copper and chlorine are often found in brine (Jones et al. 2019). The authorities have not conducted a holistic impact assessment of the impacts of brine discharges.

DEWA plans to build a solar-powered desalination plant that can desalinate water with clean energy and waste heat by 2030 (Gordon 2019 and Khaleej Times 2021), but it will take some time before all water sources are climate friendly.

Bottom Line: Dubai’s climate, geography, and population reflects its dependence on desalinated water even though it is more expensive, energy intensive, and polluting. Dubai is working to “green” its technology and reduce water consumption, but results have yet to reveal their effectiveness.


* Please help my Water Scarcity students by commenting on unclear analysis, alternative perspectives, better data sources, or maybe just saying something nice 🙂

Interesting stuff

  1. Read: “Natural” gas propaganda explains why many homes have gas — and so many people suffer from indoor air pollution.
  2. Listen: Michael Mann has coined a new word (“inactivists”) to describe the oil & gas lobbyists who urge us to do nothing while their products destroy our atmosphere. Listen in and vote for change (carbon taxes, no more energy subsidies) before you worry about your carbon footprint (another inactivist ploy borrowed from the cancer cigarette industry)
  3. Read: Good news! The EU’s ETS market is coming alive (prices over €40/ton), and [my prediction] profit seekers are going to push to make it bigger (so they can make more money)
  4. Read: Repair and reuse your clothes!
  5. Read: The value of macroeconomics in a few points (b/c that’s all there are)
  6. Listen: New world order? An interview with a member of Facebook’s “Supreme Court of free speech”
  7. Listen: A discussion with Anand Giridharadas on profits vs society
  8. Read: Zoom fatigue is a thing and there are ways to reduce it
  9. Read: I told you so Part I: Back in 2008-2011, I was writing about the failures of federal (US) flood insurance. It seems that US legislators (bounced by climate chaos) are starting to catch up…
  10. I told you so, Part II: Back in 2013, we were unable to fly via Dallas due to “freak” cold weather. I blogged on that event as a harbinger of climate chaos to come. A few weeks ago, Texas was again hit by “freak” cold weather… and now they are dusting off recommendations from 2014 that lobbyists fought to stop. What about next time?

The green gold rush

Kyra writes*

A superfood, the green gold, or simply the avocado; who’s not a fan? With a 27% increase in the global demand of 2017 alone, it is fair to say that the avocado business is booming. Rising revenues from avocado exports encourage production: the value of Chile’s exports increased by 76% between 2009 and 2019, from $170 million to $300 million. But what are the costs of producing green gold?

Let’s start with the environmental consequences. Avocado’s environmentally destructive monoculture depletes the soil of nutrients, threatens ecosystems, and contributes to extreme weather events. These problems exist for other mono-cultures, but avocado’s are also thirsty: one avocado requires up to 320 litres of water, or 64 times the water needed for one tomato.

Chile is vulnerable to climate change and is already facing problems with drying rivers, compromised water quality, and falling groundwater levels.

This deteriorating environment inevitably impacts the Chilean citizens. In regions where water is scarce, local communities are protesting. They argue that the quantity (a 50 litre allowance per day) and quality (coliform levels above legal limits) of the water they receive violates their human rights. Local communities believe Chile’s privatised water system makes them suffer while their neighbours thrive as they sprinkle avocados with 100,000 litres per day.

In 1981, under Pinochet’s military regime, Chile’s water became privatised, so water rights can be owned and traded.** Individuals and corporations get their water rights through the Dirección General de Aguas, or simply via the open market. Once obtained, it is theirs, and the state can no longer intervene. The market grants water rights to the first applicant with the highest bid. In Chile, this system has translated into rich individuals and large international corporations hoarding water for economic purposes, through the collection of water rights, digging of wells, and instalment of pipes.

Chile’s avocado plantations thus bring great economic success, but also depleted aquifers, contaminated water, and unhappy local communities. It is hence not surprising that ‘green gold’ fuels conflict between local communities claiming water as a common good and corporations that prefer private water. Human right activists, environmentalists and local citizens protest that the water code places profit over people: “we end up drinking water with shit in it, just for them to send off some good avocados to Europe. MODATIMA, a social movement against privatised water, blames the large-scaled avocado producers for water theft, and adds that access to water should not be a privilege, but a right. On top of this, they advocate for the 2,000 local avocado farms that were sold to a few large, international corporations. Economic power should be dispersed, they claim, and “our basic human right to clean and sufficient water should be met”.

The rich individuals and corporations, however, state that these social uprisings are perception-based: the state is responsible for the initial allocation of water rights, and the market only for the reallocation of these rights. The market only reallocates 15 % of all water rights, and they therefore argue that it does not significantly contribute to the unequal distribution across sectors. Besides this, the president of Agropetroca, an association that defends the agribusinesses of Petorca, explains how local communities have actually benefitted from the economic power of this growing industry, and the new avocado farms in the region.

As summarised by Daniel Bosch, a large-scaled avocado producer in Petorca: “15 years ago, this was the poorest district of Chile, but thanks to us, this area has improved considerably. Bosch and his fellow producers do acknowledge the urgency of water scarcity and its consequences, but thus simply believe the problem lies within the initial state allocation, and not the market reallocation. They argue that water markets help to achieve a greater efficiency in water use and the reallocation of resources, and therefore actually reduce the negative impacts of droughts.

Bottom Line: Chile’s avocado plantations cause great economic success, but also depleted aquifers, contaminated water and unhappy citizens. This fuels conflict between corporations and local communities, who either love or hate Chile’s privatised water system. Whether the rights of use to water remain private or not, Chile’s main priority should be to adopt a water management strategy that is more flexible: it should respond and adapt to its rapidly-changing social, political and ecological climate, whilst providing its citizens with equal access to safe and sufficient water.


* Please help my Water Scarcity students by commenting on unclear analysis, alternative perspectives, better data sources, or maybe just saying something nice 🙂

** Note from DZ: Water is “private” in terms of rights of use (usufruct) but not ownership, which remains with the State.

Rising stars in a sinking cornucopia

Clara writes*

In LA, there hasn’t been a “Day Zero”  just yet. They are only 8 places away in global ranking from achieving that though. The birthplace of “Waterworld” and home of its cherished stars might well soon host its own real-life version of a dystopian future. Not only is it 9th globally in water-stress levels, but on the national level, it steals the crown.

F7TMN1 Cachuma Lake, California, USA. 2nd December, 2015. As the severe drought in California continues for a fourth straight year, water levels in the state’s lakes and reservoirs are reaching historic lows. Cachuma Lake, the primary source of drinking water for about one quarter of a million residents on the Central Coast, was at 14 percent capacity as of December 2, 2015. Water levels at the reservoir have dropped more than 80 feet since 2011, and a sizable part of the muddy lakebed is now exposed, revealing numerous small sinkholes. (Scott London/Alamy Live News)

Los Angeles gets its water from three main sources. The Owens river, Colorado river and groundwater. The first is hardly reliable given it was well-nigh dried up not long ago, the second’s flow is dropping with every year’s reduced snowfall due to climate change, and the last is majorly depleted. It is more than worth noting that Los Angeles does not just have a problem with its sources, but with how it holds on to the water it does have. As much as 1.13 billion litres is lost to evaporation every year and significant leakages supplement that burden due to faulty infrastructure.

However, a significantly overlooked issue of the city of angels relates to its surrounding areas. The city itself may be safe from sinking (in fact it has been rising by about 3mm/year), but the areas not far outside are extremely vulnerable to the latter. Groundwater tables are slowly collapsing on themselves due to over-exploitation, taking the land above with them, thus making it sink.
It is true, groundwater may only represent 11% of usage on average but during dry season, and even more so in long-lasting droughts, groundwater is relied upon for 30% of needs! A city of 4 million thirsty (and lawn-hungry) residents is dooming the very land it relies on for its treasured wine and cheese to sink while sea-levels continue to rise.

Outside the city of angels lies another world-famous feature of the state, its agriculture. The sunny climate have allowed for a plethora of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains to be grown. Specifically, the most abundantly grown plant is alfalfa. Why should anyone care for a grain with a fairytale-level name, you ask? At 65%, the colourful grass is responsible for a majority of the land use, and therefore, water use. It is grown for its nutritiousness to feed livestock – mostly dairy cows.
So not only are the the Angelinos using between 295 and 510 litres per person (ranging from downtown to beverly hills, respectively) for domestic use daily, but they are also capitalizing off, and relishing in the products of, a sinking “desert” that is running out of water. Thus, they simultaneously cause its water scarcity by using a precious resource for water-intensive activity that honestly does not belong in this area of the country.

The Californian state took legal action to protect its aquifers and consequently, plans have been designed for the most endangered ones. These plans focus primarily on “allowing precipitation to refill aquifers” and cutting down demand wherever possible. However, this is hardly enough to begin to solve the root problem and Hollywoodian stars might need to reconsider their pledges to leave California for their pools and cheese platters might soon leave them first.

Bottom line: If the insane domestic, and even more extreme agricultural, water consumption does not stop, and especially the reliance on aquifers for that water, LA’s agriculture will sink, dry up, and the aquifers will be irreversibly depleted.


* Please help my Water Scarcity students by commenting on unclear analysis, alternative perspectives, better data sources, or maybe just saying something nice 🙂

London: Increased droughts and demand 

Emma writes*

To many, London means the Thames, Big Ben, and rain. But London shouldn’t be known for rain, as it receives less rainfall than Dallas, Rome, or Sydney. Looking to the future, Water UK suggests that London will face more severe, frequent droughts.

The city already experienced a major drought in the winter of 2011-12. Facing shortages, London’s water utilities asked for a drought permit to allow them to increase supply. If it wasn’t for the extremely wet spring and summer to follow, heavy restrictions on demand would have been necessary. As droughts are likely to occur more frequently and as precipitation will become more uncertain, London cannot expect to always be saved by rain.

Thames Water gets 30% of its water from aquifers and 70% from the River Thames and the River Lee. Rainfall influences river flows and groundwater levels. According to Professor Adrian Butler of Imperial College London, the issue is that London relies on winter rainfall to meet demand for the entire year. “If you have a succession of dry winters, you are facing a catastrophe in summer.”  Due to climate change summers are likely to become drier and winters will be wetter. The increased rainfall in the winter will likely be experienced as extreme downpour which is hard to capture and save for drought. Thames Water anticipates that summers will be 3C warmer and 18% drier on average by 2050. In the United Kingdom, climate change will decrease available water by 7-17 percent.

A lower and uncertain supply is not London’s only issue. The population of London is expected to increase by 100,000 each year and is likely to be above 13 million in 2050. The growing population in combination with household growth is predicted to increase the water demand in London and the Thames Valley by 46-90%, depending on the conservation scenario. Besides greater population and household sizes, hotter and drier summers also raise water demand. The 2018 heatwave lead to a 30 percent increase in household water demand. The figure below compares London’s increase in demand with its decrease in supply, showing how their difference — a gap indicating shortage — will increase over time.

London supply and demand (megaliters per day) Source [pdf]
Bottom-line: London is not the rainy city we imagine. Due to climate change, the city is likely to experience droughts more frequently and more severely, resulting in a decrease in water supply. In combination with an increase in demand due to population and household growth and climate change, London’s risk of water shortages is increasing.


* Please help my Water Scarcity students by commenting on unclear analysis, alternative perspectives, better data sources, or maybe just saying something nice 🙂

The (dehydrated) Big Peach

Ana Nico writes*

Metropolitan Atlanta has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. Recent projections suggest an increase equivalent to the current population of Denver of 2.9 million residents by 2050. Population growth and associated high demands for water are revealing increasing insecurities for water supply as the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority projects that within the next fifteen years, demand could increase from 201.5 to 311.6 million gallons per day in Fulton county.

Meanwhile, the warm climate and rising temperatures have made the city particularly vulnerable to droughts. Several initiatives have been launched to remedy the present shortcomings in the water management system and to ensure a steady supply to the city. Initiatives range from harvesting rainwater to the construction of tunnels to transport water up to a new reservoir. These initiatives, launched by the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, a public utility service and regulator for the city, have been few and far between.

The city of Atlanta relies on the Chattahoochee River for supply. The water is sourced through two reservoirs: Lake Lanier and Allatoona Lake. This water produces 70% of the supply for drinking, hydropower, industry, and agriculture despite being one of the smallest watersheds in the country. The issue which arises today is that high population growth increases the demand for water, while increasing droughts threaten supply. Further complicating the supply of water, the Chattahoochee River Basin provides water downstream to Georgia’s neighboring states of Florida and Alabama. If water usage continues to increase in Atlanta, an ongoing tri-state dispute on water would simply be amplified.

Parallel to emerging challenges, a case is ongoing before the Supreme court of Justice between the State of Florida and Georgia over water use. This battle, which has sprawled over two decades, has led Florida to seek legal means for a cap on Georgia’s extraction of water from the Chattahoochee River. This is the second time that the case appears before the Supreme Court where the state of Georgia’s leading argument is that metropolitan Atlanta is dependent on the current extraction levels. The case, starting on the 22nd of February, is likely to pose additional barriers to the provision of water to the city.


* Please help my Water Scarcity students by commenting on unclear analysis, alternative perspectives, better data sources, or maybe just saying something nice 🙂

A water war in the West Bank

Jacob writes*

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, water is not treated as a human right. It is a political tool, historically disputed in agreements between Israel and Palestine that is still part of the ongoing conflict. In a notoriously water scarce region, these facts create misery, anger and institutional gridlocks.

How does this affect citizens in the West Bank, which is located over the Mountain Aquifer and is divided into 3 parts (see picture)? The problem is not availability – the aquifer carries enough water to supply the entire West Bank population. Although being slowly depleted, this stems mainly from excessive withdrawals on the Israeli side, and diminishing quality through the absence of widespread sewer systems (only 30% of the population has access to sewers, the majority of wastewater is disposed in cesspits, which themselves have questionable efficiency [pdf]). The main problems are ineffective water policies.

Admittedly, the starting point is uncomfortable: 35% of water is Non-Revenue (NRW), that means it leaks from damaged pipes. Water distributed by the Palestinian Authority is often delivered by Israel, which means they have power to close the taps. In some regions during summer, the pipes open only once per 14 days. When this runs out, “trucked” water is available [pdf] at high prices.  Projects to improve water infrastructure in the West Bank have to pass through the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee (JWC), in which Israel has a veto. 100% of Israeli projects in the West Bank were passed, as opposed to 56% of Palestinian ones. Infrastructure created without permits is destroyed. Water utilities are decentralized, although under supervision of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), and the service providers are unable to cover operating costs with revenues [pdf] and are therefore dependent on subsidies.

All this is happening on top of the increasing depletion of the Mountain Aquifer, which still provides 95% of water for Palestinians in the West Bank.

The bleak outlook offers many opportunities for improvement. Removing the institutional gridlock that legally prevents Palestinians from managing their own water is a necessary first step. Of course, this depends mainly on the political situation, but collaborating with one of the world’s leading countries in water expertise holds many promises. Additional solutions would be reallocation of financial resources, and creation of larger-scale infrastructure, with a focus on wastewater treatment to “recycle” water in a notoriously water scarce region.

Bottom Line: A region in scarcity, a population in distress – this is the time for water managers to step in and work together on solutions that provide a basis of development for a long-neglected people.


* Please help my Water Scarcity students by commenting on unclear analysis, alternative perspectives, better data sources, or maybe just saying something nice 🙂

Neglect in Neskantaga

Terra writes*

Canada, in the eyes of most foreigners and nationals, is a developed country with an abundance of water, which features in tourism advertisements highlighting the rainforests on the West Coast, the azure glacial lakes of the Rockies and the white-water rivers of the Yukon. No matter the region, there is likely a corresponding aquatic pastime: perhaps you grew up kayaking in BC, playing ice hockey in Québec, or canoeing through the many lakes and rivers of Ontario.

For Canadian First Nations*, however, water goes far beyond tourism and recreation. It is a deeply sacred element, both intrinsically and as a resource that sustains many traditional cultural and subsistence activities. However, it is also the source of much pain and anger. Currently, there are 57 long-term drinking water advisories in Canadian First Nations communities. Ranging from boil-water advisories, where water must be boiled before consumption, to do-not-use advisories, which prohibit all household water use, the advisories have all lasted for at least a year. The longest, in Northern Ontario’s Neskantaga First Nation, has lasted for the past 26.

Due to the legal and political circumstances of Canadian colonization, the federal government has a duty of care to First Nations [pdf], making them responsible for First Nation reserves. In Neskantaga, this led to a relocation to a new settlement in the 1980s, under promises of better infrastructure, including houses with plumbing and clean drinking water. At first, things seemed better: in 1993 a water treatment plant was constructed by the government, and things seemed hopeful.

By 1995, however, it was clear things weren’t working. Tests came back showing the presence of chlorine and other chemicals, including known carcinogens, in the water. The water treatment plant, which relied on a low-filter, natural sand method, was not disinfecting the water well enough.

Since then, the remote community has relied on boiling water and receiving weekly shipments by plane (it has no vehicle access except for winter ice roads). The average household receives much less bottled water than one needs for drinking, meaning that they must boil almost all their water. Babies, toddlers, and the elderly are also not supposed to bathe in tap water, meaning that water used to clean them must come from bottles or be boiled and then cooled prior to bathing. The water shipments alone are estimated to have cost the federal government C$1 million.

In recent years, the federal government has upgraded the water treatment plant to a new chemical-assisted system, but the unfinished project is plagued by mismanagement and poor contracting. This is due to procurement policies that require First Nations to choose the lowest-bidding contractor for projects, regardless of the contractor’s project record. Water contamination and further infrastructural issues led to two evacuations in late 2020, which required airlifting and housing nearly 400 people in hotels for weeks.

The underlying issue continues to be a lack of government attention and investment, as well as ongoing conflict over jurisdictional ambiguities between the federal government and the Province of Ontario. Promises of action and expressions of regret have come from both governments, but, as of January 2021, little has actually changed.

Bottom Line: The water security and the well-being of Canada’s First Nations are not high enough on the Canadian government’s priority list to warrant the investments in infrastructure needed to provide clean drinking water.**

*The predominant indigenous Canadian peoples south of the Arctic Circle.

** For reference, the Trudeau government has spent C$16 billion on buying an unpopular, floundering oil pipeline whereas the costs of upgrading the water infrastructure of every First Nation in the country is estimated at C$3.2 billion.


* Please help my Water Scarcity students by commenting on unclear analysis, alternative perspectives, better data sources, or maybe just saying something nice 🙂