3 years ago

Transitioning from a Human Right to an Infrastructure Service: Water, Wastewater, and Displaced Persons in Germany

Transitioning from a Human Right to an Infrastructure Service: Water, Wastewater, and Displaced Persons in Germany
managing.editor@est.acs.org (American Chemical Society)
Water and sanitation utilities across Europe have recently been challenged to provide services to asylum seekers and refugees fleeing complex humanitarian disasters. We explore public perceptions regarding how secondary disaster impacts (mass migration into an undamaged area) has impacted the utilities. We show that the hosting population is typically willing to provide water and sanitation services to displaced persons for a set period of time, even if the displaced persons are unable to pay (water and sanitation as human rights). However, as time passes, displaced persons are eventually expected to pay for access (water and sanitation as infrastructure services). Drawing from statistical modeling of survey data from German residents, we find the average length of time for this transition in 2016 Germany was 2.9 years. The data also show statistically significant demographic and locational attributes that influence this time frame, indicating the normative length of the transition from a right to a service is contextually dependent. Regardless, this is a significant period of time that the public expects utilities to provide services to unexpected displaced persons. To be able to meet this kind of demand, utilities, engineers, and policy makers must consider the potential for displaced populations in their regular, long-range utility planning.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b03594

DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b03594

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