Investing to provide drinking water for 750 million people in poor nations who lack clean supplies makes clear economic sense with bigger than expected health benefits, World Bank estimates showed on Friday. A parallel drive to improve sanitation, especially in India where Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made basic toilets a national priority, would also yield strong returns without even considering improved human dignity. “Provision of basic water and sanitation facilities… would be a good investment in economic terms,” Guy Hutton, senior economist at the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program, wrote in a report. Universal access to basic drinking water at home would cost $14 billion a year until 2030 and yield benefits of $52 billion, or about $4 for every dollar spent, according to the preliminary findings that will form part of a wider review. The benefits were twice those estimated in a previous global study Hutton led in 2012, he told Reuters, partly because of larger than expected falls in diarrheal disease and lower costs of digging wells or boreholes. Overall, building toilets to eliminate defecation outside in rural areas would cost $13 billion a year to 2030 and give benefits of $84 billion, a return of… Read full this story
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