|Addressing the Water Crisis - Healthier and more Productive Lives for Poor People (DFID, 2001, 58 p.)|
|3. Experience to date|
3.1.1 The past 25 years have witnessed positive and exciting progress in both practice and policy in the water sector. We now have a good understanding of the social development aspects of water. Technically, we can cope with most of the present and foreseen problems. The key to progress is political will, particularly on the part of government leaders, to acknowledge lessons, change policies and take actions. Strong leadership can overcome the potential crisis in water and inspire people to improve their own lives. DFID is keen to do all it can to promote that political will and to encourage that leadership.
3.1.2 To identify the relevant lessons and new ideas, this section of the strategy paper starts with a short overview of recent progress in the water sector. It then indicates how the challenges described earlier in this document have been approached, by drawing out three particularly important lessons that organisations working in water have learned:
· to put people at the centre of work in water;
· to respond to demand, rather than be driven by supply; and
· to recognise water as an economic good with an inherent value, and with costs attached to its provision.
We recognise that many other lessons have been learned, and indeed are implicit within the text of this paper. But the three lessons presented here are those that DFID regards as most relevant to its own emphasis on the links between water and poverty elimination.