Water subsidies mostly benefit the wealthy

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Water subsidies disproportionately benefit higher-income households—a result consistent across the 10 countries analyzed in the recent World Bank report, Doing More With Less - Smarter Subsidies for Water Supply and Sanitation.

Across the 10 countries analyzed—Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, El Salvador, Jamaica, Panama, Bangladesh, and Vietnam—existing subsidies tended to target networked services. Since many poorer households rely on water and sanitation access that are not connected to their homes, there is a disproportionate focus of existing subsidies that benefit wealthier families.

An average of 56% of water and sanitation subsidies go to the wealthiest 20% of the population (upper two deciles), while 6% reach the poorest 20% (lower two deciles).

The authors of the report outline pathways that policy makers can design “smart”, “targeted”, and “efficient” water and sanitation policies to make scarce public resources reach the poorest households.

Join the Conversation

Michel Del Buono
November 27, 2019

We have known this for at least 50 years. From 1988 to 1996 l have triex tk ger Ecuador to ragionalize its water and cooking gas subsidies. And l failed. Rich ecuadoreans used subsidized LPG to heat their swimming pools, while all water subsidies went to the few thousand famies that had household connections. The stubborn fiscal deficits caused in large part by these subsidies eventually destroyed the Sucre and Ecuador then dollarized.

Felicia Onyilokwu
November 27, 2019

I support your article water scarcity has been a very big challenge in my country Nigeria truly the only the rich have access to good clean water. The average Nigerians are seriously suffering as a result so many have infected with different diseases. I appreciate world bank for this article

Towendo David Klaus
November 27, 2019

Thanks for the establishment of this blog from this world organisation,i am happy for the efforts making by the world bank for helping the Africa and particulary the Mid-East and West and North Africain coutries to end up the poverty,we really need the help for the pure potable water in my country BENIN Républic in west Africa.We are seriously lack of drinkable water .

Raja Sekaran
November 27, 2019

India is in no way different - the capital of the country primarily caters - provide free water to houses in networked services

Engr. DEJI DADA
November 27, 2019

Highly Commendable.