Safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are fundamental to improving standards of living for people. The improved standards made possible by WASH include, among others, better physical health, protection of the environment, better educational outcomes, convenience time savings, assurance of lives lived with dignity and equal treatment for both men and women.
Poor and vulnerable populations have lower access to improved WASH services and have poorer associated behaviors. Improved WASH is therefore central to reducing poverty, promoting equality, and supporting socioeconomic development. Drinking water and sanitation were targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2015; under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the post-2015 period, Member States of the United Nations (UN) aspire to achieve universal access to WASH by 2030.
The Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation (HRTWS) was adopted in 2010 under a UN resolution calling for safe, affordable, acceptable, available, and accessible drinking water and sanitation services for all.1