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The challenge of universalizing essential water services in Latin America and the Caribbean

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Esteban CastroORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a book chapter that has been published in its final definitive form by International Water Association (IWA), 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Latin American and the Caribbean (LA&C) is a region of striking contrasts. It is one of the world’s richest regions in the availability of water resources, but large sections of the population continue to suffer lack of access to essential water and sanitation services (WSS) owing to long-standing socio-economic and political factors and processes, which made the region one of the most unequal in the world. This chapter presents a synthetic picture of the overall situation in the region, and discusses the main challenges facing LA&C countries in relation to the goals of universalizing the access to essential WSS. The first section presents the general context, looking at the patterns of population growth and urbanization, the situation of water and sanitation services, and the prospects for universalization of these services by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015. The second section discusses briefly what I consider are the most crucial challenges facing the region to achieve the SDGS, which are not primarily related to physical-natural, climatic or financial constraints, but are rather fundamentally Political, in the highest sense of the term. A succinct concluding section summarizes the main arguments.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Castro JE

Editor(s): Petri, J; Mattila, H; Rajala, R; Schwartz, K; Staddon, C

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Resilient Water Services and Systems: The Foundation of Well-Being

Year: 2019

Pages: 47-67

Print publication date: 15/08/2019

Acceptance date: 05/10/2018

Publisher: International Water Association (IWA)

Place Published: London


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781780409764