Mailbox: The myth of free water for all. Substitute education.

The email below was sent to us by Biznews community member Tom Lawless. It was a submission he received from Jamal Saghir at the World Bank.

It’s 100 words on water, and why free water for all is a myth. With the free education debate, Tom suggests changing water to education; it will hopefully highlight some of the issues. It’s not the answer to South Africa’s ills but it’s an interesting thought. – Stuart Lowman 

100 Words on Water – The myth of free water for all

By Jamal Saghir, Director, Energy and Water Department, World Bank

Enshrining water as a universal human right that should be provided “free” is persuasive rhetoric. But it is also a risky distraction that stands in the way of providing water for all.

Building, maintaining, and operating infrastructure to get water to households – pipes, treatment works, and connections – costs money.

There are only two sources of paying for investments:

  • payments by users or payments by taxpayers; and
  •      • only by charging those who are served can services be extended to the unconnected.

  • Tariff setting must include subsidies to the poor. But, advocating free water for all means no water for some.

    Reworked with education

    100 Words on Education – The myth of free Education for all

    Enshrining Education as a universal human right that should be provided “free” is persuasive rhetoric. But it is also a risky distraction that stands in the way of providing Education for all.

    Building, maintaining, and operating infrastructure to give free Education costs money.

    There are only two sources of paying for investments:

    • payments by users or payments by taxpayers.
  • • only by charging those who are served can services be extended to the unconnected.
  • Tariff setting must include subsidies to the poor. But, advocating free Education for all means no Education for some.

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