Current Status + Progress
In 2015, seven out of ten people used a safely managed drinking water service

Universal access to safe drinking water is a fundamental need and human right. Securing access for all would go a long way in reducing illness and death, especially among children. Since 2000, 1.4 billion people have gained access to basic drinking water services, such as piped water into the home or a protected dug well. In 2015, 844 million people still lack a basic water service and among them almost 159 million people still collected drinking water directly from rivers, lakes and other surface water sources. The data reveal pronounced disparities, with the poorest and those living in rural areas least likely to use a basic service.

“Safely managed” water services represent an ambitious new rung on the ladder used to track progress on drinking water. In 2015, 5.2 billion people used safely managed services, i.e. accessible on premises, available when needed and free from contamination. A further 1.3 billion used a ‘basic’ water service, i.e. improved sources within 30 minutes per round trip to collect water. Over a quarter of a billion (258 million) used a ‘limited’ service where water collection from an improved source exceeded 30 minutes. In most countries the burden of water collection continues to fall mainly to women and girls.

REGIONAL COVERAGE

Estimates for safely managed drinking water services are available for four SDG regions
Drinking water ladder in 2015, by SDG region

Source: WHO/UNICEF JMP Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and SDG baseline

COVERAGE OF BASIC DRINKING WATER BY COUNTRY

By 2015, 181 countries had achieved over 75% coverage with at least basic services
Proportion of the population using basic drinking water services in 2015

Source: WHO/UNICEF JMP Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and SDG baseline

Behind the global headline figures, huge disparities in access remain between countries. While many developed countries have now achieved universal access, coverage with basic drinking water sources varies widely in developing regions. The lowest levels of coverage are found in the 48 countries designated as the Least Developed Countries by the United Nations, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa. There are now only 11 countries where less than half of the population uses a basic drinking water service compared with 25 countries in 2000.

 

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Recent Resources

WHO/UNICEF JMP interactive website

Jul 13, 2017

The new WHO/UNICEF JMP interactive website allows you to explore the latest country, regional and global statistics (including new data for sub-national regions and wealth quintiles), create and share customised charts, and to download the data for further analysis. www.washdata.org

Access the website

WASH in the 2030 Agenda

Jul 12, 2017

This briefing note summarizes the new global indicators for monitoring the drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) elements of the SDG targets and reflects extensive technical consultation with over 100 experts from over 60 organisations
worldwide.

Download the brochure in English | Download the brochure in French

Safely managed drinking water

Feb 6, 2017

This Thematic Report on Safely Managed Drinking Water considers the implications of SDG target 6.1, ‘By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all’ and outlines JMP plans for enhanced monitoring of drinking water in the SDG era.

 

Access report (English) | Access report (French) | Access report (Spanish)

Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2015 Assessement and MDG update

Jun 30, 2015

Looking back on 25 years of water, sanitation and hygiene monitoring, the report  provides a comprehensive assessment of progress since 1990.  The MDG target for drinking water was achieved in 2010 but the world has missed the sanitation target by almost 700 million people. In 2015, 663 million people still lack improved drinking water sources, 2.4 billion lack improved sanitation facilities and 946 million still practice open defecation.

Explore data dashboard | Download full report (PDF)

Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation – 2014 Report

May 1, 2014

The world has made great strides in increasing access to drinking water and sanitation for billions of people but progress has been uneven.

This joint WHO/UNICEF report documents the gains that have been made since 1990 and highlights substantive disparities such as those between regions, rural and urban areas and for marginalized groups.

Download full report (PDF)

JMP Website

Jan 1, 2014

WHO and UNICEF have monitored access to drinking water and sanitation through the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water supply and Sanitation since the early 90s.

Website

Drinking Water: Equity, safety and sustainability – 2011 Thematic Report

Oct 22, 2011

This thematic report on drinking water highlights the substantive challenges that remain in achieving safe, sustainable and equitable access to drinking water.

Download full report (PDF)
Notes on the Data

WHO/UNICEF JOINT MONITORING PROGRAMME FOR WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION

Since 1990, WHO and UNICEF have tracked progress on global water and sanitation goals through the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP). The JMP monitors trends in coverage; helps build national monitoring capacity in developing countries; develops and harmonises questionnaires, indicators and definitions to ensure comparability of data over time and among countries; and informs policymakers of the status of the water supply and sanitation sector through annual publications. The JMP draws guidance from a technical advisory group of leading experts in water supply, sanitation and hygiene, and from institutions involved in data collection and sector monitoring. Further information about the JMP and its methodology can be found at the JMP website.

DATA SOURCES

The JMP estimates for handwashing are based on information collected in household surveys such as Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Household surveys are usually conducted by national institutes of statistics, carried out by trained national staff who collect information on a wide range of health and living conditions through face-to-face interviews. Nationally owned and independently verifiable, these data sources provide national governments with a periodic update of the status and progress with respect to handwashing. Increasingly household survey data allow for assessing disparities in access by marginalized populations and geographic areas.

DEFINITION OF HANDWASHING FACILITIES WITH SOAP AND WATER

The presence of soap and water at a designated place is used a proxy for handwashing behaviours. Households are considered to have access if enumerators observe a place for handwashing and both water and soap are available.