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Water Engineering and Development Centre

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Will it cost the earth? An overview of cost estimates for achieving the water and sanitation targets of the Millennium Development Goals

Author(s): Cotton, Andrew (ed)  |  Fonseca, Catarina  |  Cardone, Rachel  |  ERM

Publisher: WEDC | WELL
Place of publication: Loughborough University, UK
Year: 2004

Series: WELL Briefing Note 9
Collection(s): WELL


Headline Facts:

  • The way in which funds for the sector are used is more important than estimates of absolute levels of funding to achieve global targets.
  • There is no consistency between the different cost estimates for achieving the targets: the range is $7.5 - $70 billion annually.
  • Globally the bulk of funding for water and sanitation comes from national domestic sources - representing 83% in 2000.
  • There is a funding gap and financial resources are an issue if the targets are to be achieved.
  • Greater commitment to poverty focus and sustainability - keeping systems running - is required otherwise those who currently have access to adequate levels of service will fall back to being unserved.
  • Greater attention needs to be given to providing the poor with access to finance. There exist financing tools that will help to achieve the MDGs but it is not clear that they will necessarily help to provide access for the poorest.