Publication: Citywide Inclusive Water Supply: Adopting Off-Grid Solutions to Achieve the SDGs

Thumbnail Image
Files in English
English PDF (1.28 MB)

English Text (128.62 KB)
Misra, Smita
Kingdom, Bill
Today about 676 million urban residents, many of them poor, do not have access to the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) definition of "safely managed" water supplies. They receive an off-grid water supply service that is not safely managed, accessible, or affordable, and thus not compliant with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.1. If the rate of providing piped supplies over the last 15 years continues for another 15 years, and the urban population increases as projected by 1.2 billion, then the current 676 million will be joined by a further 300 million by 2030. Therefore, by 2030, nearly 1 billion individuals, primarily in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, will be forced to rely on off-grid supplies that are not safely managed. These troubling numbers exclude the significant population classified as rural but live on the periphery of urban areas and have urban characteristics and aspirations. Not only are off-grid customers increasing but they are also concentrated in the poorer segments of society. An analysis of 75 low-income countries (LICs) in Asia, Africa, and Latin America shows that more than 68 percent of these customers come from the bottom two wealth quintiles (the poor and the poorest). Within these regions, many countries (24 of these 75 countries) have more than 80 percent such off-grid users from poor and poorest categories. The sector's single-minded focus on piped service delivery is insufficient to meet the challenges of providing safe water supplies due to endemic governance, efficiency, and financing challenges. These problems, coupled with policy, land tenure, and related issues in the broader urban environment, all conspire to leave poor households without access to piped water supplies—a problem that will continue. A laissez-faire attitude prevails in the sector, leaving off-grid customer to fend for themselves. Traditional (piped) solutions alone will not achieve SDG 6.1 by 2030 in providing safely managed water that is accessible at the household level and is affordable to customers. It is critical to re-examine the traditional focus on adding piped connections. Policy makers and others in the sector should explore how off-grid solutions could be "reimagined" as a complementary solution.
Misra, Smita; Kingdom, Bill. 2019. Citywide Inclusive Water Supply; Citywide Inclusive Water Supply : Adopting Off-Grid Solutions to Achieve the SDGs. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
Report Series
Other publications in this report series
Journal Volume
Journal Issue