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This global review explores the strengths and weaknesses of integrity in the water sector.  It provides examples of innovative programmes and tools and techniques that can win back the US$ 75 billion lost every year as a result or weak governance and corruption.

TitleWater Integrity Global Outlook 2016
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsDas, B, C. Fernández, F, van der Gaag, N, McIntyre, P, Rychlewski, M
Pagination261 p. : 88 boxes, 16 fig., 5 tab.
Date Published03/2016
PublisherWater Integrity Network (WIN)
Place PublishedBerlin, Germany
Publication LanguageEnglish
ISBN Number978-3-00-051295-7

This global review  explores the strengths and weaknesses of integrity in the water sector via examples from various countries. It demonstrates how integrity requires a new sense of openness and citizen involvement, notably through building transparency, accountability and participation (TAP). It provides examples of innovative programmes and projects that challenge the status quo, and showcases tools and techniques that can drive better performance in the sector. It argues that having the courage to stand up for integrity is the only sustainable way forward.

Key findings from the report are: 

  • There are strong arguments that corruption in the water sector needs to be reduced or eliminated to ensure that the UN's Sustainable Development Goal of 'availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all' will be achievable.
  • Although there are no reliable estimates of total losses, illustrating the need for better research and data, every 10 per cent of investment that is lost to corruption implies annual losses to the sector in excess of US$ 75 billion; some guesstimates put potential losses many times higher.
  • National supreme audit institutions (SAIs) can and must play a powerful role in holding public sector institutions to account and dealing with frauds such as double-counting or 'ghost' projects.
  • Water integrity training has to become part of a long-term action programme of processes that build capacity, from grass-root to government levels.
  • Monitoring works best when officials and users engage with each other.
  • Sector professionals, leaders and civil society groups can use this report as a trigger for active dialogue on the topic of water and corruption that will lead to changes in both policy and practice.

Overal recommendations: 

  • Ensure the full involvement of all relevant stakeholders in processes to build integrity and fight corruption in the water sector
  • Generate reliable data on the extent of corruption in the water sector and the economic and social damage that results
  • Put principles into practice: build 'integrity walls' appropriate to the context

Specific recommendations for each chapter:

Global mandate for water integrity

  • Explicitly recognize and address the lack of integrity and the presence of corruption as major concerns in water governance and management
  • Strengthen water integrity in order to support the implementation of the SDGs and ensure the fulfilment of the human rights to water and sanitation

Policies and laws

  • Develop and enforce water policies that incorporate TAP principles along with anticorruption measures in accordance with the obligations of the human rights to water and sanitation
  • Ensure public scrutiny and balance stakeholder interests in political and legislative processes.


  • Establish a comprehensive accountability mechanism anchored in the public finance system for water sector financing from all sources
  • Engage with ministries of finance, audit institutions and parliamentarians to make water and sanitation a priority and increase their understanding of the sector

Planning and implementation

  • Strengthen control mechanisms for projects
  • Build an effective relationship with stakeholders to ensure the fair and sustainable implementation of projects

Strategies, tools and approaches 

  • Develop targeted water integrity advocacy at multiple levels
  • Develop capacity-building initiatives within comprehensive frameworks for action
  • Adapt tools to local contexts and combine them in broader strategies

Monitoring and evaluation

  • Monitor and evaluate the quality and sustainability of water services in order to assess the impact of projects and enhance service accountability
  • Enable and encourage independent monitoring of activities by the media, nongovernmental institutions and civil society



Includes references: p. 216-255. Includes glossary: p. 256-251.



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