Delivering Access to Safe Drinking Water and Adequate Sanitation in Pakistan

Faheem Jehangir Khan, Yaser Javed
JEL codes: 
PIDE Working Papers 2007:30

Provision of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and personal hygiene are vital for the sustainable environmental conditions and reducing the incidence of diarrhoea, malaria, trachoma, hepatitis A & B and morbidity levels. Not having access to water and sanitation is a courteous expression for a form of deprivation that threatens life, destroys opportunity and undermines human dignity. Thus, investing in the provision of safe water supply and adequate sanitation is not only a development oriented strategy in itself, it can also yield other socio-economic benefits in terms of improved health status, quality of labour force and reduced burden-of-disease.
Water and Sanitation is the neglected sector in Pakistan. Most of the households in Pakistan do not have access to safe drinking water and lack toilets and adequate sanitation systems. These poor people, mostly living in rural areas or urban slums, are not only deprived of financial resources, but they also lack admittance to basic needs such as education, health, safe water supply and environmental sanitation facilities. As of 2005, approximately 38.5 million people lacked access to safe drinking water source and approximately 50.7 million people lacked access to improved sanitation in Pakistan. By year 2015, if this trend continues, 52.8 million people will be deprived of safe drinking water and 43.2 million people will have no access to adequate sanitation facilities in Pakistan. It is not to calculate what percentages of population have access to a particular service so far and how much numbers of beneficiaries will be added by year 2015; it is to investigate that even if we meet the national and/or regional targets in Pakistan, how much population will still be deprived of these most basic human needs.