Water versus Wireless Coverage in Rural Mali: Links and Paradoxes
AbstractWater 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. View Full-Text
Share & Cite This Article
Martínez-Santos, P.; Cerván, J.A.; Cano, B.; Díaz-Alcaide, S. Water versus Wireless Coverage in Rural Mali: Links and Paradoxes. Water 2017, 9, 375.
Martínez-Santos P, Cerván JA, Cano B, Díaz-Alcaide S. Water versus Wireless Coverage in Rural Mali: Links and Paradoxes. Water. 2017; 9(6):375.Chicago/Turabian Style
Martínez-Santos, Pedro; Cerván, José A.; Cano, Beatriz; Díaz-Alcaide, Silvia. 2017. "Water versus Wireless Coverage in Rural Mali: Links and Paradoxes." Water 9, no. 6: 375.
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.