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Policy Position 04/2008: Mitigating the Costs of Corruption in Water for the Poor

The water crisis, exacerbated by corruption, is exacting a high human toll on the lives of the poor and vulnerable. Corruption makes water undrinkable, inaccessible and unaffordable. In developing countries, about 80 percent of health problems can be linked to substandard water and sanitation services, claiming the lives of nearly 1.8 million children every year. Corruption in water is skewing access to precious and scarce resources away from the citizens who need them most. It is hindering the water sector’s potential to serve as a catalyst for national development and instead has made water the source of stagnation in the lives of many. Every year, students suffering from water-related ailments around the world miss an estimated 443 million school days. For the poor, the loss of an education turns into lost opportunities for jobs, college and the future. The cycle of poverty becomes one that is increasingly difficult to break.