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close this bookGlobal Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report (UNICEF - WSSCC - WHO, 2000, 90 p.)
close this folder7. Asia
View the document(introduction...)
View the document7.1 Overview
View the document7.2 Water supply and sanitation coverage
View the document7.3 Changes during the 1990s
View the document7.4 Trends and future needs

7.4 Trends and future needs

Figures 7.3 - 7.8 show the numbers of people with and without water supply and sanitation coverage in Asia, for 1990 and 2000. The projected population growth and target coverage for 2015 and 2025 are also shown. Over the 1990s, an enormous number of people in the region gained access to services (Figures 7.3 and 7.6). For example, although percentage coverage has actually dropped slightly for urban water supply, an additional 282 million people gained access (Figure 7.4). At the same time, 303 million people gained access to water supply in rural areas (Figure 7.5). The numbers of additional people who gained access to sanitation are almost as high: the Assessment 2000 findings suggest that 365 million urban dwellers and 216 million rural dwellers gained access to sanitation facilities over the same period (Figures 7.7 and 7.8).

It is predicted that population growth in the region will continue to increase. To achieve the target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved services by the year 2015, enormous effort will be required. For urban water supply, an additional 619 million people will need to gain access to services over the next 15 years (Figure 7.4). For rural water supply, the figure is 361 million people (Figure 7.5). Therefore, to meet the target for water supply, almost one billion additional people will require access in Asia alone. As an example of activities already under way, Box 7.4 describes an attempt to increase access to water supply in Viet Nam.


Saltwater intrusion and increased agricultural activity have polluted surface water throughout the Mekong Delta. To find fresh water, more than 43 000 tubewells up to 400 metres deep were drilled to tap into fresh-water aquifers. Furthermore, surveys carried out in 1996 and 1997 indicated that thousands of wells in the area were only being used at about 5% of their capacity. The challenge was to find ways of increasing access to clean water by more effectively exploiting existing wells, rather than drilling new wells.

A project began in the commune of Luong Hoa. Extensive discussions with community members led to an agreement to construct and maintain a piping system to bring water directly to their homes. Virtually every household agreed to contribute financial support. The funds collected for each cubic metre of water are enough to cover electricity and operational costs, as well as to maintain a contingency fund for the future repair or expansion of the system.

The project has expanded to cover new piping systems in 49 communes in the provinces of Vinh Long and Tien Giang, benefiting an estimated 22 000 people. The experience shows that relatively small amounts of capital can act as a catalyst in helping people to help themselves. Community support for small piping systems can be a low-cost method of increasing rural water supplies.

Source: (28)

To meet the 2015 target for sanitation, an additional 675 million people in urban areas and 857 million people in rural areas will need to gain access to facilities (Figures 7.7 and 7.8). In total, around 1.5 billion people in Asia will need to gain access to improved services. The incredibly large number of people requiring access to rural sanitation in the region is a reflection of both the size of the rural population and the very low current level of coverage. Halving the population without service means meeting the needs of a huge number of people.

Figure 7.3 Actual and target total water supply coverage for Asia

Figure 7.4 Actual and target urban water supply coverage for Asia

Figure 7.5 Actual and target rural water supply coverage for Asia

Figure 7.6 Actual and target total sanitation coverage for Asia

Figure 7.7 Actual and target urban sanitation coverage for Asia

Figure 7.8 Actual and target rural sanitation coverage for Asia



Photography: UNICEF/Charton