The new water distribution networks (Spain)
Water reached cities and towns via pipes and aqueducts, of more or less complexity, built over different periods, but the widespread existence of distribution networks and the privatisation and institutional services for water appear in Europe in the middle of the 20th century. It is then that the gradual release comes for women from important water management tasks, even though it was not until the 1960s that universal access to clean running water reached all the rural areas of Spain.
The expectation generated in Madrid by the first fountain with a water supply from the Canal de Isabel II is a good example.
In 2015, it is estimated that 29 per cent of the world’s population has no access to safely managed drinking water services (affecting 2.1 billion people). Most of them concentrate in the poorest households in rural areas. When safe drinking water is not available on premises, the burden of water collection and treatment largely falls on women and girls, who must allocate significant amounts of energy and time, limiting their engagement in other activities such as paid work and education. For example, in Benin, women from rural households who do not have water on premises, need 24 minutes to reach a water source, versus the urban ones in the same situation, who need 16m.