To date, “in mainland France, 300,000 people, including a large proportion of children, still do not benefit from a connection to the drinking water distribution network, 1.4 million do not have sufficient water quality. for consumption and 7.5 million people still do not have secure access to sanitation equipment, ”recall the French NGOs including Unicef and Action contre la Faim.
In the context of the pandemic, the European Union published in December 2020, a directive which aims “to improve access to water intended for human consumption” and which contains the obligation for Member States to implement the principle of access to drinking water for all.
Among the strong measures put forward by the European directive and taken up by the report of French NGOs for access to water and sanitation for all, we note “the encouragement to install free fountains in towns and cities. public places, to promote the supply of tap water in restaurants, canteens and catering services ”.
Free water for the most vulnerable
This text “also commits States to take all necessary measures to ensure access to drinking water for vulnerable and marginalized groups”.
For these populations, “water connections and the installation of drinking water points and access to sanitation (must be) provided for squats and slums by the community services with the support of the State, taking into account the wishes of the inhabitants (…). When the extension of the network or the individual connection to the network are not possible solutions from a technical point of view, it is possible to deploy alternative solutions: install a self-service fountain (…) or, in in case of last resort, set up a cistern, filled by the authorities, ”the report specifies.
Measures that are still not integrated into French law, which the NGOs regret.
Currently, “the imprecise legislative and regulatory framework (leaves) too much room for interpretations and political choices of the territories concerned,” notes Unicef.
However, “if these recommendations were taken into account, French law (…) would make it possible to provide within it the necessary guarantees that all people in the territory, including the most vulnerable and poorly housed in precarious habitats, squats, slums and informal camps, have decent and sufficient access to water, sanitation and hygiene, ”she concludes.