Global costs and benefits of reaching universal coverage of sanitation and drinking-water supply

Hutton, G. (2013)

Published in: 2013
Pages: 12

Journal of Water and Health, 11.1, doi: 10.2166/wh.2012.105

Hutton, G.

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Economic evidence on the cost and benefits of sanitation and drinking-water supply supports higher
allocation of resources and selection of efficient and affordable interventions. The study aim is to
estimate global and regional costs and benefits of sanitation and drinking-water supply interventions to
meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target in 2015, as well as to attain universal coverage.
Input data on costs and benefits from reviewed literature were combined in an economic model to
estimate the costs and benefits, and benefit-cost ratios (BCRs). Benefits included health and access time
savings. Global BCRs (Dollar return per Dollar invested) were 5.5 for sanitation, 2.0 for water supply and
4.3 for combined sanitation and water supply. Globally, the costs of universal access amount to US$ 35
billion per year for sanitation and US$ 17.5 billion for drinking-water, over the 5-year period 2010–2015
(billion defined as 109 here and throughout). The regions accounting for the major share of costs and
benefits are South Asia, East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Improved sanitation and drinking-water supply
deliver significant economic returns to society, especially sanitation. Economic evidence should further
feed into advocacy efforts to raise funding from governments, households and the private sector.

Bibliographic information

Hutton, G. (2013). Global costs and benefits of reaching universal coverage of sanitation and drinking-water supply. Journal of Water and Health, 11.1, doi: 10.2166/wh.2012.105

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