Facts and Figures

Water infrastructure deteriorates and must be maintained

  • Water infrastructure deteriorates over time. Leakage (loss) rates of 50% are not uncommon in urban distribution systems.
  • In rural areas neglect of operation and maintenance budgets and cost recovery contribute to widespread non-functionality. A recent survey of almost 7,000 rural water schemes in Ethiopia found that 30%-40% were non-functional. A shortage of finance for wages, fuel, materials and spare parts was a common factor. 
  • In most urban public water systems charges often barely cover the recurrent costs of operation and maintenance, leaving little or no funds to recover the capital costs of modernization and expansion. A survey of such systems in 132 cities in high-, middle and low-income countries found that 39% did not recover even their operation and maintenance costs (true of 100% of cities in South-East Asia and the Maghreb).

Related theme: Investing in Infrastructure

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