New statistics reveal scale of challenge

Figures released in July 2017 reveal the scale of the challenge ahead to bring universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.

News

24 Jul 2017 | AU

Figures released in July 2017 reveal the scale of the challenge ahead to bring universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.

WaterAid analysis has found that at the current rate of progress, some countries including Kenya, Myanmar and Nigeria will never reach a day when everyone has at least a basic toilet because changes in demographics, including rapid urbanisation, are outpacing how quickly the country is providing sanitation to its people.

The same gloomy outlook applies for delivering access to water for all in Pakistan and Papua New Guinea, when current rates of progress toward at least a community supply of clean water – known as a ‘basic’ supply – are examined.

Worldwide, the latest statistics show that 844 million people do not have access to clean water. This number has risen from the previous 663 million figure, largely because the 263 million who have to spend over half an hour in their round-trip to collect clean water are now deemed to only have a “limited” water service.

And 2.3 billion still do not have a decent toilet – around one in three of the world’s population.

World leaders in 2015 committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including Goal 6, which aims to make sure by 2030 that every household in the world has its own tap and toilet delivering safe water and safe sanitation – a standard known as “safely managed”. This is a new level of ambition, building on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals.

WaterAid’s analysis of figures by the Joint Monitoring Programme – a body set up by Unicef and the World Health Organization to collate data on water and sanitation coverage – shows Burkina Faso, Uganda, and Niger will only deliver a community source of clean water within a 30-minute round trip to everyone by 2112, 2118 and 2119 respectively – a standard known as a “basic” service. Currently there is no data available to show how many are currently enjoying a household level, or “safely managed,” service in those countries.

And the picture for sanitation is even worse with projections showing that on the current rate of progress everyone in Uganda will have basic sanitation services by 2342 and Ghana will take 400 years. In other countries such as Kenya, the provision of sanitation is failing to keep up with demographic changes, meaning that the day will never come when the whole population has even basic sanitation services.

Earlier definitions of access to clean water required only that a person would be deemed to have clean water if they had access to a water source that was built to protect the water from contamination, such as a pump or a covered well. With this new set of definitions, the United Nations has set the vision higher - for every household to have its own water source available when needed, and which is regularly tested to make sure it is safe. Toilets will need to be private and part of a system that makes sure they are regularly emptied, as with an effective sewage system or latrine emptying scheme.

WaterAid is fully behind the vision and ambition of the United Nations to ensure that everyone achieves the human right of safe water and toilets. However, WaterAid cautions that achieving this standard of coverage will require a revolution in approach from decision-makers at grassroots level right through national governments and up to international organisations such as the United Nations and World Bank.

Top 10 worst countries in the world for at least basic sanitation

Country

At least basic sanitation (% population)

Year reaching 100% coverage

1

Ethiopia

7

2370

2

Chad

10

Never - decreasing

3

Madagascar

10

2281

4

South Sudan

10

2123

5

Eritrea

11

2347

6

Niger

13

2203

7

Benin

14

2341

8

Togo

14

2449

9

Ghana

14

2428

10

Sierra Leone

15

2302

 

Top 10 worst countries in the world for at least basic access to water

Country

At least basic water access (% population)

Year reaching 100% coverage

1

Eritrea

19

2507

2

Papua New Guinea

37

Never - decreasing

3

Uganda

39

2118

4

Ethiopia

39

2056

5

Dem Rep of Congo

39

2239

6

Somalia

40

2062

7

Angola

41

2289

8

Chad

43

2259

9

Niger

46

2119

10

Mozambique

47

2047