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The Diplomatic Dispatch

The British Ambassador to Sweden blogs on The Local

Fresh Water For Poor People: This year’s Stockholm Water Prize winner

As the Presidential road blocks were dismantled, and the sun continued to shine on the sparkling water outside the City Hall, I was privileged to be among the thousands gathered in the Stadshuset to see the British-born scientist, Dr Peter Morgan, become the 23rd Stockholm Water laureate.

For more than 40 years Dr. Morgan has worked to create innovative solutions in water, sanitation and hygiene to help African people to improve their health and their lives.

His focus has been on low-cost practical solutions. In awarding the world’s most prestigious water prize, the Stockholm judges noted that “Many currently existing solutions to provide clean water and sanitation are unaffordable, impractical and out of reach for the world’s poorest people,”.

“As a result of Dr. Morgan’s pioneering work to develop practical water and sanitation technologies for those most in need, countless communities now enjoy safer water, a cleaner environment and quality of life.”

Early in the twenty-first century, more than 780 million people still live without access to safe water and 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation. Diseases caused by unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene kill more than 5,000 people each day.

Dr Morgan’s innovations include water pumps and latrines that have transformed people’s lives.  He has shared his designs and innovations freely, so they can be used and developed by local communities, in Zimbabwe where he works, and elsewhere.

As one of the judges said at the ceremony, access to clean water is a human right. Dr Morgan has rightly been honoured for helping making that right a reality for many of the world’s poorest people.

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