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Triple-S think piece examining the rates of change in coverage of different groups (rural and urban) and in different services (water and sanitation).

TitleThrough the danger zone: Rates of change in the expansion of water and sanitation coverage
Publication TypeBriefing Note
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsSmits, S, Moriarty, PB

According to the United Nations, the Millennium Development Goal target for water supply was reached in 2010, five years ahead of deadline. Nonetheless, over 780 million people worldwide lack access to a safe water supply. Progress towards the achievement of the sanitation target lags far behind, and predictions show that it is not likely to be reached by 2015.

This paper examines the rates of change in coverage of different groups (rural and urban) and in different services (water and sanitation). The analysis attempts to identify those populations most at risk of not getting access to service in the future, as well as those for whom progress seems more certain. We have tried to identify certain coverage levels at which growth is high, and others where stagnation seems to happen, an area we have called the danger zone. In addition, we attempt to go beyond a basic analysis of served/unserved to look at trends in moving from the most basic to higher service levels, posing the question: does improved services for some lead to stagnation in access to the most basic services for others.

The data do not reveal unequivocally that a danger zone exists. JMP data is not finely detailed enough to test the concept with full confidence. If such a zone does exist, some countries can and do manage to traverse it and approach full coverage. That said, the analysis does provide insight into where shifts take place in a country's growth trajectory from basic to higher levels of water services, or from open defecation to improved sanitation. And for the many countries that have not achieved 100% coverage, the analysis raises the question of the appropriate balance of investment between expanding coverage and sustaining services or, put another way, the dilemma of some for all or more for some.

Citation Key74559



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