World Water Day: Corruption in the water sector’s costly impact

World Water Day: Corruption in the water sector’s costly impact

Each year, between US$ 770 billion and $1,760 billion are needed to develop water resources and services worldwide. Yet the number of people without “safe” drinking water is about as large as those who lack access to basic sanitation: around 32 per cent of the world’s population in 2015. How can so much be spent and yet such massive shortfalls still exist? One answer: About 10 per cent of water sector investment is lost to corruption.

Today, on World Water Day, the Water Integrity Network (WIN) releases a new report that documents the legacy of corruption in the water sector, revealing corruption’s costly impact on the world’s water resources. It also shows the degree to which poor water governance negatively affects the world’s most vulnerable populations – specifically women, children, and the landless.

While access to water and sanitation were formally recognized as human rights by the UN General Assembly in 2010, the reality remains far from this goal. According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, some 663 million people lack access to so-called “improved” drinking water sources globally. This contributes to 1.6 million deaths annually, most of whom are children under 5 years old.

Although the UN’s new 2030 Agenda includes a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) on water and sanitation as well as a mandate for accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (SDG 16), action is needed so that pervasive and systemic corruption do not continue to leak resources from the water sector.


In 2013, Malawi’s reformed public financial management system was misused to divert US$5 million in public funds to the private accounts of officials.

In 2015, an audit of the €70 million phase II national water programme in Benin, which included €50 million from the Netherlands, revealed that €4 million had vanished. Dutch development cooperation with the Benin government was suspended thereafter to safeguard additional funds.

This Water Integrity Global Outlook 2016, or WIGO, shares examples of both corruption and good practices at all levels worldwide. WIGO demonstrates how improved governance and anti-corruption measures can win back an estimated US$ 75 billion for global investment in water services and infrastructure annually. It therefore highlights and draws lessons from those examples of where governments, companies, and community groups have won gains for water consumers and environmental protection.

“The report proposes to build ‘integrity walls’ from building blocks of transparency, accountability, participation and anti-corruption measures” says Frank van der Valk, the Water Integrity Network’s executive director. “Urgent action by all stakeholders is required.”

The Water Integrity Network promotes integrity to eliminate corruption and increase performance in the water sector worldwide. Download WIGO at www.waterintegritynetwork.net/wigo or write to info@win-s.org 

Image credits: Joost Butenop, Pattabi Raman, Water Integrity Network

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Blog: Gender and corruption: where do we go from here?

While corruption and gender have become increasingly prominent on the global agenda, and it’s increasingly recognized that anti-corruption measures are central to reducing the gender gap, the pace of change has so far been glacial. Urgent action is needed, but is sorely lacking.

Blog: Verifying the beneficial owner of companies. Why and how.

While existing rules emphasise the need for accurate, reliable and up-to-date beneficial ownership information, verification of information provided by companies is often minimal, when it happens at all.

Troika Laundromat signals a different kind of financial crisis

The Troika Laundromat investigation shines a spotlight on a cast of new and familiar characters in the ongoing saga surrounding flows of dirty money through the world’s financial system.

الأبعاد الخطيرة للتعديلات الدستورية المقترحة في مصر

يتأهب نواب البرلمان المصري للمصادقة على سلسلة من التعديلات الدستورية، التي ستؤدي في حال تمريرها إلى ترسيخ مزيد من السلطة بيد الرئيس، وتنصيب الجيش مجددا كأعلى سلطة في البلاد.

The alarming message of Egypt’s constitutional amendments

Parliamentarians in Egypt look set to approve a series of constitutional amendments this week that, if passed, would consolidate power in the office of the president, while restoring the military as the ultimate authority in the country.

Восточная Европа и Центральная Азия: слабая система сдержек и противовесов

Индекс восприятия коррупции (ИВК) за этот год представляет печальную картину касательно мер по борьбе с коррупцией в Восточной Европе и Центральной Азии. За несколько лет в этом регионе был достигнут очень незначительный прогресс в борьбе с коррупцией.

الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا: انتشار الفساد في ظل ضعف المؤسسات وتراجع الحقوق السياسية

كشف مؤشر مدركات الفساد 2018 عن صورة قاتمة لواقع الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا حيث أن معظم بلدان المنطقة قد أخفقت في مكافحة الفساد على الرغم من أن قلة قليلة من البلدان قد أحرزت تقدما تدريجيا.

Afrique subsaharienne:Les régimes non démocratiques sapent les efforts de lutte contre la corruption

L’Indice de perception de la corruption (IPC) présente cette année un tableau bien sombre de l’Afrique : seuls 8 pays sur 49 obtiennent un score supérieur à 43 sur les 100 points que compte l’Indice. Malgré l’engagement pris par les dirigeants africains de faire de 2018 l’Année africaine de lutte contre la corruption, les avancées concrètes se font encore attendre.

Trouble at the top: why high-scoring countries aren’t corruption-free

For the third year running, the top seven countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 consist of the four Nordic nations – Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway – plus New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland. Yet that doesn’t mean that these countries are corruption-free.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media