Paying for the Spout: Innovative Financing Could Expand Access to Water. New Security Beat, March 2020.
Safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are vital for human well-being. However, 1 in 3 people (approximately 2.2 billion) still lack safe drinking water, 4.2 billion do not have access to safely managed sanitation services, and 829,000 people die annually from unsafe water and related sanitation and hygiene around the world.
While Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) aims to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by 2030, we won’t get there if nothing changes. The current level of WASH financing is too low to achieve universal access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene.
To meet SDG 6, capital financing needs to triple to $114 billion annually, and operating and maintenance (O&M) costs also need to be considered. According to a joint World Health Organization and UN-Water report, the financing gap in 19 countries and one territory was greater than 60 percent, and less than 15 percent of the 115 countries and territories surveyed had the human or financial capital needed to implement WASH policies and plans.
Critical hurdles to overcome include revenues that do not cover operating costs; insufficient creditworthiness of water and sanitation utilities; poor financial data on WASH; and uncertainty in future funding given annual variability in foreign aid.
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