Water Supply and Sanitation: Sector Results Profile
Foundations for Ending Poverty: Providing Sustainable Water and Sanitation Services
April 12, 2013
In countries around the world, people have seen progress in the expansion of water and sanitation services, yet 780 million still live without access to improved water sources, and 2.5 billion lack access to safe sanitation. Only 63 percent of the world’s population now has improved sanitation access, a figure projected to increase only to 67 percent by 2015, well below the 75 percent aim in the Millennium Development Goals.
Even those with access to water and sanitation often have to cope with poor service. Improving utilities’ performance is crucial to ensure continuous service and lower levels of leakage, which affect both the quality and quantity of water available to end-users and the utility's financial sustainability. Social and financial considerations must also be addressed in the design, planning, and implementation of water and sanitation policies and facilities to keep services affordable for the poorest. Tariff policies and strategic financial planning involving governments, service providers, end-users, and donors are important to ensuring sustainable water and sanitation services for all.
Looking forward, these challenges will be exacerbated by growing competition for water resources as urban areas and populations grow, land use changes, and climate change increases. All of these issues are at the core of the water-energy-food nexus.
The following elements define the World Bank’s approach:
Delivering development results: Offering a wide range of financial solutions, the Bank’s operations are tailored to the needs and capacities of specific countries. For example, emergency loans provided in post-conflict or post-disaster situations help affected countries’ institutions to rehabilitate critical infrastructure and respond to basic needs. In other countries, and with the ultimate goal to serve more people with sustainable water and sanitation services, Bank support is focused on longer-term efforts to strengthen institutional capacities, including at decentralized level, and promote sustainable utilities.
Innovative solutions to complex situations: In connecting global knowledge and operational experience, the Bank brings lessons and emerging good practices learned in one country or region to other parts of the world. For example, with support from the Water Partnership Program (WPP), the Bank has championed the innovative Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) approach that was piloted in seven cities in Latin America over the last three years through investments and technical support. An IUWM approach was also recently used in Azerbaijan and is currently being piloted in Kenya. IUWM was the focus of the 2012 World Bank’s flagship report for the water sector.
Analysis and advisory services: Knowledge production and dissemination and cross-support activities allow a deeper understanding of crosscutting issues such as decentralization, community participation, private sector participation, as well as a renewed focus on countries where water may constrain growth. Priorities include promoting pro-poor solutions and enhancing gender-balanced interventions, sustainable financing at project and sector level and climate change impacts. For instance, the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), a multi-donor partnership administered by the Bank, supports 19 sub-Saharan African governments and nine Asian governments in assessing the impacts of poor sanitation on national economies through the Economics of Sanitation Initiative.
Value for money: The World Bank helps governments improve their monitoring and evaluation systems, in order to enhance transparency and accountability and report on results and progress. For instance, at the utility level, the International Benchmarking Network (IBNET) initiative provides standardized performance indicators for 2,600 water and sanitation utilities, covering more than a quarter of the world’s urban population in more than 100 countries. At the government level, public expenditure reviews (PERs) are undertaken to help the Bank’s clients assess the effectiveness of public spending in the water and sanitation sector and prioritize policy options within and across sectors. An assessment of 15 PERs conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa highlighted capacity constraints and incomplete sector reform, opening the door for improvement in future activities.
During periods of extreme water shortage, I have to walk to a nearby suburb two kilometers away to fetch water at KSh 50 [US60 cents] per 20-litre container
Since 2002, Bank-supported projects have provided 145 million people with improved access to water and 10 million people with improved access to sanitation. Some examples of results achieved with IDA and IBRD support are listed below:
Benin: Thanks to a series of Poverty Reduction Support Credits (PRSCs) (FY2006-2011), the water MDG target is likely to be met. Under the PRSC6, decentralization efforts were very successful and led many local governments to contract public private partnership arrangements for the management of village water systems, ensuring greater efficiency in service delivery and increased local ownership. The project reached over 57 percent of the rural population with access to improved water by 2010, from the original baseline value of 44 percent in 2006.
Vietnam: The Ho Chi Minh City Environmental Sanitation Project (FY2002-2012) provided better sanitation conditions to 1.2 million people, and reduced the risk of flooding for 400,000 people. In this technically complex and challenging environment, the lessons learned from this project are now being applied to other drainage basins in the country, showcasing successful capacity building in urban water management.
Azerbaijan: A Rural Investment Project (FY2004-2012) expanded access to safe water to the previously worst served 150,000 rural populations through potable water supply systems managed by 71 communities. 30 communities rehabilitated irrigation systems, benefitting approximately 70,000 people. As a result, weighted average productivity increased by 46 percent for potatoes, 40 percent for maize, 38 percent for cotton and 31 percent for wheat.
Nepal: the Second Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Project (FY2004-2012) improved access to drinking water for more than 1 million people through over 1,400 operational water schemes with community operation and maintenance (O&M), all of them with at least three women members. The project also helped decrease the prevalence of diarrheal disease morbidity among young children by over 80 percent in the project area, and helped mainstream the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Fund Development Board approach in the Nepalese Government's system.
South Sudan: A Water Supply and Sanitation Project funded by the Multi-Donor Trust-Fund for Southern Sudan, administered by the World Bank (FY2010-2012), supported the fragile, newly created state to provide basic services to its citizens. It also demonstrated the leading role of the Bank in coordinating with partners, the United Nations, donors, governments and civil society to achieve results in a short period of time in a post-conflict environment. Approximately 402,500 direct beneficiaries gained improved water supply and sanitation, including through the construction and rehabilitation of 586 water points with an established water committee and O&M plan in place. The project trained 4,340 Water Committee members and established nine water quality laboratories and one rural training institution, contributing to developing capacity and laying the foundation for future sustainable management of water resources and facilities.
India: A blend IDA/IBRD country, the Karnataka Urban Water Improvement Project (FY2004-2011) was path breaking in demonstrating that 24/7 water delivery could be a reality in urban India. The project supported the installation of water mains with 24/7 supply in five urban demonstration zones, supplying 230,000 people directly, quickly gaining strong satisfaction and support from end-users. The revenue from billing covered and even exceeded the costs for O&M and bulk water delivery—a rarity for India.
Chile: An Infrastructure for Territorial Development Project (FY 2003-2011) provided water supply and sanitation services to 320,000 beneficiaries in rural, dispersed areas. The project was inclusive of both indigenous and gender issues. The National Corporation for Indigenous Development expressed satisfaction with the consultation process, and 40 percent of elected members of the Water Users' Committees are women. The project also contributed to the elaboration of a comprehensive rural water manual currently used by Chilean municipalities and the Ministry of Public Services, for the selection and implementation of appropriate low cost technologies.
Morocco: In the ongoing Morocco Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (FY2006-2015), IBRD supports the government program to increase sustainable access to potable water supply in rural areas, while promoting improved wastewater management and hygiene practices. As of 2012, 142,000 people in the rural provinces of Safi and El Jadida have gained access to potable water supply through 830 standpoints. More than 90 percent of villages already provide a financial contribution to the project capital costs for production and conveyance, and an increased number of households now have adequate water quality in household water storage facilities.
Bank Group Contribution
The World Bank Group is the world’s largest external source of finance for water-related interventions. The total International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) financing approved for water supply and sanitation in the past five years (2008-12) was US$17.5 billion.
Water supply and sanitation services are of the utmost importance for IDA countries, as improved access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is highly relevant to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals, from health and education to food security and environmental sustainability. IDA countries have received US$6.3 billion of commitment over the last five years, or 36 percent, of the Bank’s water supply and sanitation services operations, of which 50 percent have benefitted Sub-Saharan Africa and more than 25 percent went to South Asian populations.
The World Bank is a leading contributor to the international dialogue on water and sanitation and is widely acknowledged for its ability to leverage funding. At country level, it works with clients and other donors and stakeholders to ensure efforts are aligned to national development priorities and led by national authorities. For instance, in Tanzania, the Water Sector Development Program has adopted a sector wide approach program to support the government’s poverty alleviation strategy through improved sector governance and increased access to safe drinking and sanitation services. The client’s strong financial and institutional commitment, coupled with an IDA investment of US$200 million helped leverage investments from several bilateral donors and the African Development Bank, for a total recently increased from US$950 million to US$1300 million.
At regional and global level, The Bank engages in initiatives such as the World Water Forum to share knowledge and experience on access to water for all, finance for water, or water and green growth. It also has built on its convening power to advocate for increased aid effectiveness and urgency to tackle the sanitation challenge.
Through several multi-donor trust funds and alliances hosted by the Bank, including the Water Partnership Program (WPP) and the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), as well as the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) and the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA), the Bank partners with governments, donors and other stakeholders including United Nations agencies to ensure country ownership and understand bottlenecks and drivers for progress in each client country.
The Bank is developing a Water Vision, which will guide its upcoming investments and knowledge dissemination in order to ensure that the Bank’s water work prepares client countries for the future in the best possible way. At the core of this Vision is the impetus for the Bank’s water practice to work increasingly across sectors, both in investments and through analytical and advisory services, to ensure that all relevant projects address water sustainability issues on a holistic basis.
Water is indeed essential for human health and human settlements, food and agriculture, energy and industry, and the environment. All future water investments will systematically consider how they address financial and environmental sustainability, poverty, gender, and climate risk. The Bank will aim to be a convener on problems of global significance, for instance through its work on Integrated Urban Water Management or stronger engagement in sanitation and wastewater.
Kayole Soweto village in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, is home to 90,000 residents. The village is among scores of informal settlements inhabited by almost two-thirds of the city’s four million people. Like other low-income settlements in Nairobi, Kayole Soweto village is sparsely served by a piped water network. For Isaac Ndirangu, 18, a high school student, the responsibility of fetching water falls on him, as he is the eldest sibling in a household of four people. “During periods of extreme water shortage, I have to walk to a nearby suburb two kilometers away to fetch water at KSh 50 [US60 cents] per 20-litre container,” Isaac says.
In early 2012, the Kenya government received an additional US$300 million credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) to increase access to water and sanitation services in fast-growing cities and towns, including Nairobi. A social connections program introduced by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) now makes it possible for Isaac’s family to get affordable piped water all year long from a standpipe just down the street from the family home.