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One of the major social problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the lack of clean water for drinking and domestic use.  The Democratic Republic of Congo has been experiencing a water crisis for more than a decade.  This is due to various problems and challenges that have resulted from improper use and management of water resources in the country. According to Bessette (2012), the Democratic Republic of Congo possesses more than half of water reserves or resources in Africa.  However, more than seventy four percent of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo do not have adequate access to clean and safe drinking water.  A research study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has revealed that approximately fifteen million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo do not have access to clean water for drinking and domestic purposes such as cooking and washing.  The technical report compiled by the United Nations Environment Programme referred to the predicament of water in the Democratic Republic of Congo as an acute water crisis.  It requires immediate actions or feasible corrective measures to fix the situation.  According to Robertson (2012), the rate of growth of urban centers in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the fastest in the world.  This has led to increased challenges in the supply and delivery of water to the already large and ever-growing population in towns and urban centers.  In addition, the rapid increase in population in urban centers has also resulted into poor sanitation.   This also negatively impacts on the quality of water available to the people.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) approximates that more than thirty seven million people in rural areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo are at risk of contracting waterborne diseases.  Due to lack of clean drinking water in the country, the population is to struggle with diarrhea, dysentery, bilharzias, and typhoid fever.  The United Nations Children’s Fund further affirms that most people in the Democratic Republic of Congo have no alternative but to drink and use raw water that has not been treated for drinking and cooking.  Schnurr and Swatuk (2012) have also established that the number of deaths caused by drinking contaminated water among children in the Democratic Republic of Congo increases rapidly..This happens due to increased use of raw and untreated water fetched directly from the rivers, lakes, streams, and other water reservoirs.

According to reports delivered by the United Nations Children’s Fund, a child living in one of the villages of the Democratic Republic of Congo is four times more likely to contract waterborne diseases consuming contaminated water from the rivers than a child living in the urban centers and owns such as Kinshasa in the same country.  This indicates that village dwellers are at a higher risk than people living in urban centers or towns.  The United Nations Children’s Fund further asserted that more than two million children in the Democratic Republic of Congo aged below five years have suffered from diarrhea due to consumption of contaminated water.  In early 2010, Heale and Yong (2010) reported that the Minister for Health in the Democratic Republic of Congo accepted that millions of children died in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to inability of the government to provide people with clean drinking water.

Heale and Yong (2010) also report that major piped water networks in the country have aged, thus, become less efficient and reliable.  Most parts of the country have shallow wells dug by unemployed youths who do not have any training on water resources management.  This has greatly comprised the quality of water fetched from such wells.  In addition, the wells have also not been properly maintained, thus, leading to further diminishing the quality of water.  There has also been dilapidated water supply infrastructure with more than a third of the water treatment plants.  They are not operational and the physical degradation of natural water resources and high incidences of bacteriological contaminations result from improper usage.

The mining industry has also greatly affected the quality of water in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  According to Schnurr and Swatuk (2012), mining is one of the extractive industries that lead to contamination of water in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  This is due to massive use of water and pumping of water out of rivers and streams during extraction of minerals.  In my view, the mining industry does not only affect the quality of water for drinking but also affects the quantity of water available for agricultural activities such as irrigation.

Agencies and Their Responsibilities

Some of the major agencies and organizations that have been involved in finding solutions to water problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo include the National Water and Sanitation Committee, financial institutions, and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The National Water and Sanitation Committee is responsible for bringing government representatives and development partners together to spearhead the search for solutions for water problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The National Water and Sanitation Committee is also responsible for ensuring that the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo adopts and fully implements appropriate reforms in the water sector.  This would aid in finding the suitable and long-lasting solutions to the water crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Such financial institutions as the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) are responsible for funding water projects that aim at reducing the water shortage in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The financial institutions make funds available to development partners.  This is going to facilitate the development and implementation of water projects such as construction of water dams and reservoirs and drilling boreholes in.  Consequently, the water problems faced by the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo are to be solved.

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is responsible for formulating appropriate reformatory policies for the water sector as well as fully implementing the reform policies.  This will ensure that the water problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo are resolved eternally.  The government in conjunction with the National Water and Sanitation Committee is also responsible for conducting extensive fieldworks and consultations with stakeholders such as the UNEP, international development partners, humanitarian organizations such as the Danish Refugee Council and international financial institutions such as World Bank, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  They are to formulate appropriate ways of resolving the water problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  In addition, the government is also responsible for formulating suitable developmental policies that should be used to ensure an appropriate use, conservation, and preservation of water resources in the country.  Moreover, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is responsible for initiating major improvements in water infrastructures in the country such as piped water networks.  Such system would facilitate delivery of quality water to the people.

The government and financial institutions such as the World Bank and African Development Bank are also responsible for making substantial investments to help in strengthening the development and delivery of water in the country.  In my opinion, massive investments in the water sector would also make it easy for providers of water services to supply and deliver safe water of high quality to the people.  Developmental partners are responsible for drilling boreholes and constructing dams in order to help in resolving the water crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Conclusion

In my view, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo should strive at improving the water sector.  Doing so, they will help save lives of millions of children and thousands of adults who die every year in the country due to consumption of contaminated water.  In addition, the water sector plays a very important role in the economic recovery of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Thus, the problems faced in the sector should be addressed adequately and long-lasting solutions should be found.  For my part, finding solutions to the various problems experienced by the water sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo would not only improve the health of the people but also facilitate foster long-term sustainable development in the country.  This is because the water sector plays a critical role in economic growth and development of the country.  Therefore through the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, and other government agencies such as the Water Resources Research Institute, the national government of the Democratic Republic of Congo should ensure appropriate solutions to the water problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo are formulated and implemented, for example, improving the water supply networks in both urban centers and villages.  The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo should also create a more reliable and efficient public water utility system that would facilitate efficient supply, distribution, and delivery of clean water for drinking and domestic use to the citizens.  In addition, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, development partners and agencies, and other stakeholders should ensure that more boreholes are drilled in areas with higher populations such as the Kasai Orientale province and Kinshasa city.  Residents should be encouraged to boil water before drinking in order to reduce infections caused by contaminated water.

Code: Sample20

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