third world water

i apologise if this is ignorant…

but i was talkin about third world countries to a friend, about the people you always see on the nws with vases on their heads walkin miles to collect water, and we are always reminded that they have to walk forever just to get water - and she said “why dont they just move closer to the water?”

and i said “er…”

so why dont they just move their village closer to the water? they could build a wall or something to stop it flooding them in the rainy season…

The (rich, well connected) farmers usually control the riverbanks for irrigation purposes. And areas wet enough for scrubgrass are considered owned by the ranchers.
When I lived in Africa, near the Kalahari desert this was the case.
Of course, in pre-colonial times people did as you suggest and went to the water (or followed their animals there).

Also, sometimes the water they’re walking to comes out of a well, and not all of the possibly hundreds of people who use the well can live right next to it.

And when you have 5000 people settling down to live by that two-foot wide creek or little bubbling spring it doesn’t take long for it to get polluted (if it isn’t so already)… so 6 months down the road you have to pick up the entire village and move upstream again; possibly where someone else already owns the land or at least shoots at tresspasers.

It’s really a similar question as “why doesn’t everyone just move to a house across the street from their jobs so no one would have to commute to work?” The space, resources, and sometimes willingness just doesn’t exist.