Water Supply and Sanitation in Yemen

Water supply and sanitation in Yemen is characterized by a number of achievements and many remaining challenges. The main challenges are severe water scarcity, especially in the Highlands, and a high level of poverty, making it difficult to mobilize financing for investments to increase access or to fully recover the costs of service provision. Access to water supply sanitation is as low as in some Sub-Saharan African countries. Yemen is both the poorest country and the most water-scarce country in the Arab world. In addition, the capacity of sector institutions to plan, build, operate and maintain infrastructure remains limited. The growing scarcity of water is a problem garnering international attention, such as a headline in the Times of London in October 2009, "Yemen could become first nation to run out of water."

Despite these challenges, many things improved in the sector since the mid-1990s when a wide-ranging reform process was initiated, flanked by substantial donor support. Through the reforms urban service provision was decentralized to commercially run local corporations that set their own tariffs. The utilities substantially increased tariffs, despite the political sensitivity of the topic in a poor country, and managed to increase cost recovery. Despite these increases water remains affordable with the average share of total monthly household expenditure on water and sewerage at about 1.1% of total expenditures. The average monthly expenditure on the widely used stimulant qat is about eight times the amount paid for the water and sewer bill. Between 1995 and 2008, 2.8 million people in Yemen gained access to an improved water source and 7.5 million to improved sanitation. According to a survey carried out in 2008 in 7 towns 89% of the customers of water utilities said they were satisfied with the service level of their water utility, and only 9% were dissatisfied. Non-revenue water in urban utilities decreased from about 50% in 1999 to an estimated 28% in 2007. In Sana'a, the collection efficiency of water and sewer bills increased from 60% to 97% during the same period.

The main external donors involved in the water and sanitation sector in Yemen are Germany, the World Bank and the Netherlands. The World Bank's 2003 Water Resource Sector Strategy outlines four key strategies focusing on water resources management that are utilized in Yemen.

Read more about Water Supply And Sanitation In Yemen:  Access, Service Quality, Water Resources, History and Recent Events, Efficiency, External Cooperation, See Also

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