“Understanding the Urban Poor's Vulnerabilities in Sanitation and Water Supply ", is an article written by Barbara Evans published in July 1-6, 2007 by of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development. This paper argues that one of the root causes of this exclusion has been the long-standing inability of utility and city managers and their advisers to plan and implement water and sanitation systems which respond to the reality of the lives of the urban poor.
The analysis in this paper focuses on the difficulties for some communities of accessing both water and sanitation systems which provide basic reliable service. The question this paper seeks to explore however is whether, in this more ‘enlightened’ time, the interests, and realities of the urban poor are adequately understood and represented in urban systems planning and implementation, or whether, despite twenty years of learning, certain population groups are still vulnerable to a systematic exclusion from basic services provision.
The authors of the summit paper on this theme note that, despite some ‘honourable exceptions,’ few cities have developed the plans and capacity to respond to the increasing risks which will be faced by some urban populations. Once again it is important to recognize that investing against future risks to currently ‘unserved’ populations is unlikely to be high on the agenda for many urban elites. Part of the key here is to link such plans and investments with the idea of maintaining the integrity of the urban system as a whole. A later paper for this conference highlights the real risks faced by urban populations who are excluded from accessing basic water supply and sanitation services.