Facts and Figures

The total costs of replacing ageing water supply and sanitation infrastructure in industrial countries may be as high as USD 200 billion a year.

  • The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) estimates that the total costs of replacing ageing water supply and sanitation infrastructure in industrial countries may be as high as USD 200 billion a year.
  • In the United States bringing water supply and sewerage infrastructure up to current standards will cost more than USD 1 trillion over the next 20 years, with hundreds of billions more required for dams, dikes and waterway maintenance. 
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the total annual cost of meeting the 2015 Millennium Development Goal target for sanitation at just over USD 9.5 billion. 
  • If estimates of current costs are correct, resources in the sanitation sector would have to be almost doubled to meet the 2015 MDG target (although estimates of current spending probably underestimate the contributions by households to their own sanitation services). If the full cost of tertiary wastewater treatment for waste streams in urban areas is added, the total rises to USD 100 billion, the current value of total annual official development assistance.
  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change estimates additional investments for adaptation to climate change at USD 28 - USD 67 billion and as high as USD 100 billion a year several decades from now. Estimates of the additional investments needed in water supply infrastructure in 2030 are USD 11 billion, 85% of it in developing countries.

Related themes: Investing in Infrastructure; Water, Sanitation and Health; Millennium Development Goals; Climate Change and Adaptation

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