People using basic drinking water services (% of population)

Definition: The percentage of people using at least basic water services. This indicator encompasses both people using basic water services as well as those using safely managed water services. Basic drinking water services is defined as drinking water from an improved source, provided collection time is not more than 30 minutes for a round trip. Improved water sources include piped water, boreholes or tubewells, protected dug wells, protected springs, and packaged or delivered water.

Description: The map below shows how People using basic drinking water services (% of population) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Denmark, with a value of 100.00. The country with the lowest value in the world is Eritrea, with a value of 19.29.

Source: WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (washdata.org).

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: Water is considered to be the most important resource for sustaining ecosystems, which provide life-supporting services for people, animals, and plants. Global access to safe water and proper hygiene education can reduce illness and death from disease, leading to improved health, poverty reduction, and socio-economic development. However, many countries are challenged to provide these basic necessities to their populations, leaving people at risk for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH)-related diseases. Because contaminated water is a major cause of illness and death, water quality is a determining factor in human poverty, education, and economic opportunities. Lack of access to adequate drinking water services contributes to deaths and illness, especially in children. Water based disease transmission by drinking contaminated water is responsible for significant outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and typhoid and includes diarrheal diseases, viral hepatitis A, cholera, dysentery and dracunculiasis (Guineaworm disease). Improving access to clean drinking water is a crucial element in the reduction of under-five mortality and morbidity and there is evidence that ensuring higher levels of drinking water services has a greater impact. Women and children spend millions of hours each year fetching water. The chore diverts their time from other important activities (for example attending school, caring for children, participating in the economy). When water is not available on premises and has to be collected, women and girls are almost two and a half times more likely than men and boys to be the main water carriers for their families. Many international organizations use access to safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation facilities as a measure for progress in the fight against poverty, disease, and death. Access to safe drinking water is also considered to be a human right, not a privilege, for every man, woman, and child. Economic benefits of safe drinking water services include higher economic productivity, more education, and health-care savings.

Limitations and Exceptions: National, regional and income group estimates are made when data are available for at least 50 percent of the population.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Data on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene are produced by the Joint Monitoring Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) based on administrative sources, national censuses and nationally representative household surveys. WHO/UNICEF defines a basic drinking water service as drinking water from an improved source, provided collection time is not more than 30 minutes for a round trip. Improved water sources include piped water, boreholes or tubewells, protected dug wells, protected springs, and packaged or delivered water.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual