© Khalid Rayhanshawon

Corruption in the Water Sector Puts Lives and Livelihoods at Risk

The impact of poor water integrity reaches far beyond the water sector

Why it matters

Water quenches thirst, grows crops and generates power. It is vital to human health and survival. But only if it is clean -of corruption and impurities.

Corruption is exacerbating a water crisis that has devastating consequences on human lives, on our economies and our global security.

1 in 10 people do not have guaranteed access to water worldwide. 6 million people die every year from water-related disasters and diseases

Increasing competition, overuse and pollution have already turned our water-based ecosystems into the world’s most degraded natural resources. Poor and marginalized communities -the least able to speak out against these issues- are the most affected.


The stakes are high

The yearly global market for drinking water and sanitation infrastructure is already high (approximately US$ 210 billion) and further investments are needed to comply with international targets such as the SDGs, to adapt to climate change and for maintenance and damage management.

Corruption can increase prices of water connections by up to 30%

Corruption inflates prices and puts a higher burden on the most vulnerable. It also undermines the sustainability of water supplies. In developing countries, it is estimated that corruption raises the price of connecting a household to a water network by up to 30%. In many countries, almost half of the water supply is lost to unmonitored leakages and illegal connections.


A challenge beyond the water sector

Investing in integrity and good water governance means investing in jobs, agriculture, health, education and environmental protection. It is a straightforward path to sustainable development, that is still too often blocked by corruption.

Sources: Transparency International – Global Corruption Report 2008 and UN water figures