Facts and Figures

Investments in water yield high economic returns by avoiding costs of disasters

  •  Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. For each USD1 invested, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates returns of USD3-USD34, depending on the region and technology.
  • Every USD invested in improved water supply and sanitation yields gains, on average, of USD4-USD12, depending on the type of intervention. 
  • The overall economic loss in Africa alone due to lack of access to safe water and basic sanitation is estimated at USD 28.4 billion a year, or around 5% of GDP.
  • Adequate investments in water management, infrastructure and services can yield a high economic return by avoiding costs related to water pollution, contamination and disasters.
  • Investments in water infrastructure by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1930 and 1999 yielded returns of USD 6 for each USD 1 spent and controlled flood damage despite rising population numbers and property value at risk over the period. 

Related themes: Water, Sanitation and Health; Investing in Infrastructure; Uncertainty and Risk

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