More than a quarter of the world’s population — about 2.1 billion people — lack access to clean water, according to a
report released this week by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Accessibility of drinking water, availability when needed and levels of contamination were used to assess water services. National data were available for about 100 countries in 2015, and these are the 10 with the least safely managed water supply.
Nearly three-quarters of people in Mexico drink packaged water, and the country is a world leader in consumption of bottled water per capita.
This Aug. 22, 2016 photo shows Edgar Serralde’s kitchen, with a small table supporting a counter top water dispenser and drinking glasses, in Mexico City’s borough Xochimilco. Like roughly one million Mexico City residents, Serralde isn’t on the city’s water system. Instead of relying on water trucks Serralde built his one-bedroom house with an intentionally slanted roof, creating a makeshift rain harvesting system. (AP Photo/Nick Wagner)
In rural parts of Congo, only 21 percent of people have access to water nearby, which is nearly double what it was five years ago.
Children pull a container of water in the Kisenso district of Kinshasa, Congo, on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. There is much uncertainty about the control of yellow fever in Congo, where a surge of cases could spark further waves of the epidemic. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Pakistan is the country with the greatest gap in basic hygiene between the richest and the poorest.
A girl, whose family was displaced from a Pakistani tribal area where security forces are fighting militants, fetches clean water in a slum in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Monday, March 16, 2015. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)
Only about a third of managed drinking water in Bhutan is free from contamination. (Thinkstock)
More than half of people in Ghana have limited sanitation services.
The lack of proper sanitation facilities in Nepal lends itself to 30 percent of the population practicing open defecation.
A young girl holding a baby takes a cool drink from a water spigot in the destroyed village of Balua, near the epicenter of Saturday’s massive earthquake, in the Gorkha District of Nepal, Thursday, April 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Cambodia is one of 18 countries where at least 5 percent of the population relies on delivered water.
A woman rides her motorbike with her child past a pond during a severe dry spell on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Cambodia’s prime minister says the country’s people must mobilize to help deal with the worst drought in the last four decades, which has left roughly two-thirds of the country’s 25 provinces short of water for drinking and other necessities. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
Nigeria is one of the fastest improving countries when it comes to water quality, but 15 percent of people still drink from unimproved water sources.
The King of Ogale, King Okpab, pauses behind some bottles with water samples of the Ogale area in Nigeria during an interview with The Associated Press in London, Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. Britain’s High Court will begin hearing lawsuits on Tuesday filed by the Ogale and Bille people alleging that decades of oil spills have fouled the water and destroyed the lives of thousands of fishermen and farmers in the Niger River Delta. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
There is a significant 43-point gap between safely managed water services in rural and urban areas in Ethiopia.
A man fills a long line of plastic water containers from a tanker, in the drought-affected village of Bandarero, near Moyale town on the Ethiopian border, in northern Kenya, Friday, March 3, 2017. The U.N. humanitarian chief, Stephen O’Brien, toured Bandarero village on Friday and called on the international community to act to “avert the very worst of the effects of drought and to avert a famine to make sure we don’t go from what is deep suffering to a catastrophe.” (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Nearly 40 percent of people in Uganda need to travel more than 30 minutes to access safe drinking water.
In this photo taken Friday, June 9, 2017, women and children return home with plastic containers of water, in a section of the sprawling complex of mud-brick houses and tents that makes up the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in northern Uganda. One of the consequences of South Sudan’s civil war has been the thousands of unaccompanied or separated children fleeing without parents or guardians, of which it is estimated around 9,000 have crossed into Uganda since July. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Want to Know More?
Read about a
program in Kenya that’s encouraging better sanitation, countries with the best public health care and check out more news, data and analysis on the U.S. News Best Countries site.
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