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Water poverty

Humans can, at a pinch, make do without a lot of things, but they must have water. Some people in developing countries have access only to water that is unfit to drink. In other countries, even some prosperous ones such as the oil-rich nations of the Middle East, there isn’t enough water for their populations.

The term water poverty for the lack of access to potable water isn’t new: it’s on record as far back as 1950 in reference to the problems of Texas farmers during a prolonged drought. But it has become widely used only in the past decade. In February, a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation used the term to describe the state of four million British low-income households who struggle to pay their water bills.

She concluded that Jamaica was suffering from water poverty, as it is a nation that cannot constantly afford the cost of sustainable clean water to everyone.

Jamaica Observer, 3 Aug. 2010.

Even if the new deal does not cut back on Egypt’s share of the Nile, water poverty is a daunting reality as the population grows by an estimated 1.5 million people annually.

Manila Bulletin, 31 May 2010.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 19 Mar. 2011

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-wat3.htm
Last modified: 19 March 2011.