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The State of the World’s Water 2016: Poorest pay highest price

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Water: At What Cost? Our latest report reveals the state of the world's water

Our new report, launched to mark World Water Day 2016, reveals that the poorest people in the world are paying the highest price for safe water – and calls on governments to act now for universal access.

Our latest report Water: At What Cost? The State of the World’s Water 2016 launches today, to mark World Water Day 2016.

It reveals that, while many more people now have access to clean water than in 2010, 650 million people have been left behind – and for many, the exorbitant cost of water from ‘unofficial’ water sources is undermining their human right to safe water.

The worst affected country is Papua New Guinea, where 50 litres of water – just enough to maintain your health and hygiene each day – costs £1.84, 54% of a typical low salary there.

The report also provides a snapshot of life in countries including India, Mozambique, Madagascar, Ethiopia and Zambia.

It is the first annual report examining the world’s progress towards universal access to clean, safe water, and follows on from our It's No Joke: State of the World’s Toilet report, released in 2015.

Progress – but not for everyone

Since the Millennium Development Goal to halve the number of people without access to safe drinking water, huge progress has been made in many countries like Cambodia, where 33.9% more people now have access than in 2000.

But progress hasn’t reached everyone: while Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh now enjoys almost universal access, 80% of Cambodians live in the countryside, where there is still extreme poverty.

This kind of inequality is replicated in many of the ‘improving’ countries, where a lack of access to safe, affordable water has huge knock on effects for other areas of development, including health, education and productivity.