Self-supplied drinking water in low- and middle-income countries in the Asia-Pacific

Tim Foster, Cindy Priadi, Krishna Kumar Kotra, Mitsunori Odagiri, Emily Christensen Rand, Juliet Willetts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


There is increasing awareness of household self-supply and the role it can play in securing water for domestic needs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), but its scale across the Asia-Pacific has not previously been quantified. This study analysed 77 datasets from 26 countries to estimate the prevalence of self-supplied drinking water, and its associated trends in LMICs in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. When factoring in temporal trends, results suggest that >760 million people—or 31% of the population—relied on self-supply for their drinking water in these regions in 2018, with the number of users increasing by >9 million each year. Reliance on self-supply for drinking water is greater in rural areas than in urban areas (37% of rural population vs 20% of urban population), though results vary considerably between countries. Groundwater sources constitute the most common form of self-supply in South Asia and Southeast Asia, while rainwater collection is dominant in the Pacific. The results confirm the significance of self-supply in the Asia-Pacific and suggest that households are a major but often overlooked source of financing within the water sector. The findings raise important questions about how policy and practice should respond to this widespread phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Journalnpj Clean Water
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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