1.0 Background

Access to safe drinking water supply and sanitation services is fundamental to improving public health and meeting national poverty reduction objectives. As is now widely recognized, lack of access to these essential basic services contributes substantially to the high burden of disease that needlessly foreshortens and impairs the lives of far too many of Nepal’s citizens.

 

The economic costs of ill health, medical treatment, lost time and opportunities caused by lack of access to these basic services accounts for an estimated cost in South Asia of around $34 billion1[1]. The economic returns on water and sanitation investments in South Asia are around 3.5 for water supply, 6.9 for sanitation and 6.6 for fully integrated projects2[2]. The Millennium Declaration adopted by the member states of the United Nations are committed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Target 10 under Goal 7 of the MDG clearly states “to halve by 2015 the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”.

 

For the above reasons, the Government of Nepal remains fully committed to the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation services for all of its citizens as a fundamental human need and a basic human right and on providing improved water supply and sanitation services of medium and higher levels, that are commensurate to affordability of the townships.

[1] Human Development Report, UNDP, 2006, p42

[2] Economic and health effects of increasing coverage of low cost household drinking‐water supply and sanitation interventions to countries off‐track to meet MDG target 10, WHO/UNDP, 2007