On average, every US dollar invested in water and sanitation provides an economic return of eight US dollars1
Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. For each $1 invested, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates returns of $3 - $34, depending on the region and technology.6
Those who lack access to water are not a homogeneously poor group. Nearly 66% of people who lack safe drinking water live on less than $2 a day, while 33% on less than $1 a day.1
An evaluation of major sanitation programs in six countries by the World Bank revealed households tend to be the primary investors in household on-site sanitation facilities. If provided access to credit, poor households were found to be able to allocate a significant portion of their income to sanitation investments. Access to credit was found to play a significant role in triggering household sanitation investments.3
People living in informal settlements (i.e. slums) often pay 5-10 times more per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city.1
Resource LinksLook for more facts in our collection of Water Resource Links.
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (2006). Human Development Report 2006, Beyond Scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis.
- Water and Sanitation Program (WSP). (2000). Linking Sustainability with Demand, Gender and Poverty: A study in community-managed water supply projects in 15 countries.
- Water and Sanitation Program (WSP). (2010). Financing On-Site Sanitation for the Poor, A Six County Comparative Review and Analysis.
- WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2010). Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-Water, 2010 Update.
- World Health Organization (WHO). (2002). The World Health Report 2002, Reducing Risks, Promoting Health Life.
- World Health Organization (WHO). (2004). Evaluation of the Costs and Benefits of Water and Sanitation Improvements at the Global Level.
- World Health Organization (WHO). (2008). Safer Water, Better Health: Costs, benefits, and sustainability of interventions to protect and promote health; Updated Table 1: WSH deaths by region, 2004.
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