Countries With the Worst Access to Drinking Water

Source: Евгений Харитонов / Getty Images

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, hand washing is more important than ever as one of the most accessible and most effective ways for ordinary people to combat the outbreak. Even at the best of times, safe and reliable access to water is essential for health. 

While easy to take for granted in many affected regions, billions of people around the world do not have reliable access to clean drinking water. 

In fact, in the countries with available data, approximately 1.6 billion people in 2017 lacked access to facilities with water and soap, and 1.4 billion people had no access at all to a hand washing facility. 

24/7 Tempo reviewed household survey data in “Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2017,” a report produced jointly by UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Our ranking is based on the percentage of a country’s population with access to at least basic drinking water services. We only included the 29 countries for which just two-thirds of the population or less had access to drinking water.