Water and sanitation

In the WHO European Region, more than 63 million people gained access to drinking-water services and 84 million people to sanitation services between 2000 and 2017. Nevertheless, over 16 million people still lack access to basic drinking-water and more than 31 million people are in need of basic sanitation. Significant inequalities persist between rural and urban areas, and between rich and poor people, with rural dwellers and the poorest being the most disadvantaged.

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Increased drinking-water consumption brings gains for health and the environment

Essential, vital, crucial, fundamental – all of these words describe the role of water in our lives. Access to safe, sufficient, affordable and acceptable drinking water is not only critical to human health and well-being, but it is a basic human right.



Protocol on Water and Health

The Protocol on Water and Health to the 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes is the first major international legal approach for the prevention, control and reduction of water-related diseases in Europe.

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Water Safety Plans

Small-scale systems are an important component of water supply in the WHO European Region, and Water Safety Plans (WSPs) are regarded the most effective approach to ensuring continuous provision of safe drinking-water.

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In countries

The WHO "Guidelines for drinking-water quality" recommend the water safety plan approach as the most effective way of ensuring the provision of safe drinking-water. WHO/Europe supports the implementation of the Guidelines by building in-country capacities and facilitating water safety plan demonstration projects.

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