How much water is enough? Determining realistic water use in developing countries

Excellent thoughts on water quantities – how much is enough?

Improve International

By Susan Davis, Executive Director, Improve International

Water from a handpump in KenyaHow much water do you use every day? If you live in the US, you probably don’t think about it much, even if you pay for what you use.  Do you know how much water people in developing countries use?  A lot less than Americans, for sure.  But exactly how much turns out to be quite variable.

I thought it would be helpful to share the results of a desk review we did on water quantities measured or reported in developing countries.  The most comprehensive data referenced in studies comes from the Drawers of Water study (White, Bradley, & White, 1972), the first large-scale assessment of domestic water use in Africa, and Drawers of Water II (IIED et al, 1997); however, both are outdated and distinguish only between piped and unpiped water systems.

Not surprisingly, people are likely to use more…

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