• Water Integrity Global Outlook 2021

    Urban Water and Sanitation

    Irvin Jethro Velas, WIN photo competition 2013

To make cities resilient and to realise the human rights to water and sanitation for urban residents, we need to focus on water and sanitation integrity.

Corruption in water and sanitation has a tremendous impact on the lives and well-being of city residents and on the reputation of cities and water and sanitation sector stakeholders. The issue may seem daunting but evidence from around the world shows that change is possible. And change is essential.

Building on the Water Integrity Global Outlook (WIGO) 2016, WIGO 2021 brings together examples of how integrity champions -mayors, regulators, water and sanitation professionals, civil society, funders, the media- are building integrity in cities step by step, to improve water and sanitation services and leave no one behind.

The WIGO2021 summary is also available in French, Spanish, and Swahili.
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By 2050, nearly seven out of ten people in the world will live in urban areas and the number of people living in informal settlements is likely to double. In cities around the world, the water and sanitation situation is already dire: over a third of the urban population lives without adequate sanitation and threats from climate change are increasing.

It’s essential. Cities need clean water and sanitation. And clean water and sanitation need integrity, for city residents, city resilience, and city reputation.

Urban Sanitation

Despite many benefits of adequate sanitation for city residents and the economy, urban sanitation remains the under-regulated poor relation in the water and sanitation sectors. Prioritising and setting the right standards for sanitation, including for non-utility service providers, is an essential first step to build integrity.

Informal Settlements

Inadequate water and sanitation in informal settlements is a reflection of profound social and institutional exclusion, and a deep failure of integrity. We must take measures to recognise and work with residents, as well as address legal complexities, and fill gaps in statistics that exclude the poor.


Practices such as e-procurement are showing remarkable impact to address the high risks of corruption in procurement. Limiting opportunities for petty corruption prioritises and benefits the most vulnerable. Recognising sextortion and taking measures to support women to report wrongdoing is crucial.



Training for integrity

Free online introductory training on water integrity for water professionals