New Statistics Reveal scale of challenge ahead to bring water and toilets to all Liberians by 2030

Chuchu Selma, WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone Deputy Country Director

Figures released today reveal the scale of the challenge ahead to bring universal access to water and sanitation in Liberia by 2030, the international development organisation WaterAid has said.

WaterAid’s analysis of figures released today by the Joint Monitoring Programme-a body set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organization to collate data on water and sanitation coverage, shows that Liberia will deliver a community source of clean water within a 30-minute round trip to everyone by 2071.

And the picture for sanitation is even worse with projections showing that on the current rate of progress everyone in Liberia will have basic sanitation services by 2346.

Currently 30% of the population in Liberia do not have clean to water and 83% do not have a decent toilet.

Worldwide, the latest statistics show that 839 million people-or around 11% of the global population, do not have access to clean water.

This number has risen from the previous 663 million figure, largely because the 264 million who have to spend over half an hour in their round-trip to collect clean water are now deemed to only have a “limited” water service.

And 2.3 billion still do not have a decent toilet-around one in three of the world’s population.

World leaders in 2015 committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including Goal 6, which aims to make sure by 2030 that every household in the world has its own tap and toilet delivering safe water and safe sanitation-a standard known as “safely managed”.

This is a new level of ambition, building on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals.

Earlier definitions of access to clean water required only that a person would be deemed to have clean water if they had access to a water source that was built to protect the water from contamination, such as a pump or a covered well.

With this new set of definitions, the United Nations has set the vision higher-for every household to have its own water source available when needed, and which is regularly tested to make sure it is safe.

Toilets will need to be private and part of a system that makes sure they are regularly emptied, as with an effective sewage system or latrine emptying scheme.

There is insufficient data currently available as to how many people in Liberia have that level of water and sanitation service.

WaterAid is fully behind the vision and ambition of the United Nations to ensure that everyone achieves the human right of safe water and toilets.


However, WaterAid cautions that achieving this standard of coverage will require a revolution in approach from decision makers at grassroots level right through national governments and up to international organisations such as the United Nations and World Bank.

WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone Deputy Country Director, Chuchu Selma said:

“The fact that so many of the world’s population still have to exist without access to the essentials of life – clean water and a decent toilet – is shameful. There is clear consensus on the transformative power of those services – we know for example that for every £1 spent, there is a £4 boost to the economy.

“We know that women leave more fulfilling and productive lives when they are freed from the daily burden of fetching water that will make their families sick and then nursing their children back to health. We know that children are more able to concentrate on their lessons when they can get a clean water to drink and go to the toilet. We know that if people are able to wash their hands, they help stop the spread of germs in their community.

“If the world galvanised to make sure that no one ever had to worry about where to get a drink, or go to the toilet or wash their hands, we could save the lives of so many of the 289,000 children under five who now die each year from diarrhoea linked to dirty water or lack of sanitation.

“The United Nation’s vision of working taps, toilets and hand basins for every household by 2030 is absolutely the right goal because it will truly transform lives. But we have only another 13 years to get there which means that all of us, across government, civil society, water and sanitation companies and in every community are working with passion, grit, generosity and vision to bring this historic moment to pass.”

Top 10 worst countries in the world for at least basic sanitation
Country At least basic sanitation (% population) Year reaching 100% coverage
1 Ethiopia 7 2370
2 Chad 10 Never (decreasing)
3 Madagascar 10 2281
4 South Sudan 10 2123
5 Eritrea 11 2347
6 Niger 13 2203
7 Benin 14 2341
8 Togo 14 2449
9 Ghana 14 2428
10 Sierra Leone 15 2302






Top 10 worst countries in the world for at least basic access to water

Country At least basic water access (% population) Year reaching 100% coverage
1 Eritrea 19 2507
2 Papua_New_Guinea 37 Never – decreasing
3 Uganda 39 2118
4 Ethiopia 39 2056
5 Congo_Dem_Rep_of 39 2239
6 Somalia 40 2062
7 Angola 41 2289
8 Chad 43 2259
9 Niger 46 2119
10 Mozambique 47 2047
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About Cholo Brooks 17519 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.