Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation and at least 780 million people lack access to safe drinking water. This causes thousands of children to die each day and hundreds of billions of dollars in global economic losses every year.
With so many people lacking access to these basic services, developing countries have an enormous challenge ahead. It calls for a massive increase in the roll out of water and sanitation services, both in urban and in rural areas. This will require significant investment, as well as improvements in management of the utilities providing these services.
Experience around the world shows that both the public and private sector can deliver affordable, sustainable, high quality water and sanitation services, which has more to do with factors such as the capacity and financial sustainability of the service provider and whether there’s a reasonable regulatory and institutional framework in place.
In many places where public services do not reach people, governments engage private sector or community based organizations to reach those unreached. By helping governments to create a better enabling environment for these entities, the World Bank Group helps affordable and better services to reach those people, while also strengthening their demand for better services in the longer term.
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