Global Health Observatory (GHO)

Access to piped water


Access to safe water dramatically reduces deaths from infections, as demonstrated by development in high-income countries, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Now, cities in the developing world are facing these same challenges in providing access to safe water for their residents. While most official statistics reflect better coverage in urban areas than in rural areas, various surveys show that in many cities, the quantity and quality of water available to poor residents falls short of acceptable standards. Hundreds of millions of people who supposedly have access to water only have access to communal popes shared by dozens of people. For many poor urban families, hours each day are lost just carrying water from distant sources. Others use water from tanker trucks or bottles provided by private vendors, at prices far higher than those paid by wealthier residents, who obtain their water from public water supply systems. The lack of access to safe water Almost half of city dwellers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America suffer from at least one disease caused by lack of safe water and sanitation. In Sub-Saharan Africa, poor people spend at least one-third of their incomes for treatment of waterborne and water-related diseases, such as malaria, diarrhoea, and worm infection.


Access to piped water has not improved, on average, for the urban poorest 20% in Africa, Americas and Asia between the 1990s and 2000–2007. However, access to piped water has fallen for the urban richest 20% in Americas and Asia during the same period. In Asia, only 66% of the urban richest 20% had access to piped water in 2000-2007 compared to 84% access in the 1990s.


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