Water versus Wireless Coverage in Rural Mali: Links and Paradoxes



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Martínez Santos, Pedro and Cerván, José Antonio and Díaz Alcaide, Silvia (2017) Water versus Wireless Coverage in Rural Mali: Links and Paradoxes. Water, 9 (6). p. 375. ISSN 2073-4441

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/w9060375


Water and wireless coverage were evaluated in a rural commune of southern Mali. All improved water sources in the area were checked for operability, accessibility, and water quality, while wireless coverage was tested by means of smartphones, phone calls, and instant messaging applications. Theoretical water coverage exceeded 82% of the total village surface area, thus beating the national and sub-Saharan African averages, but dropped to just 39% when considering only serviceable and contamination-free sources. In contrast, wireless coverage exceeded 90%.
These outcomes highlight a triple paradox: (1) water from theoretically safe (i.e., improved) water sources is often unsafe to drink; (2) wireless access is better than water access even though water is essential for human survival and telecommunications are not; and (3) excellent Internet coverage does not help a large number of people, who lack the skills, devices, or need to access it. While telecommunications seem to be making inroads towards universal access faster than the water sector, a survey of water committees uncovered a hidden nexus between both resources, revealing that increased wireless access is actually contributing to underpin water coverage in a variety of ways.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Water access; wireless access; improved water sources; human rights; geographic information systems; Mali
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geodynamics
Sciences > Geology > Hidrology
Humanities > Geography > Geographical information systems
ID Code:62811
Deposited On:03 Nov 2020 08:43
Last Modified:03 Nov 2020 09:02

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