Improved and unimproved water sources and sanitation facilities

The JMP has established a standard set of drinking-water and sanitation categories that are used for monitoring purposes. An "improved" drinking-water source is one that, by the nature of its construction and when properly used, adequately protects the source from outside contamination, particularly faecal matter. An "improved" sanitation facility is one that hygienically separates human excreta from human contact. The definitions used by the JMP are often different from those used by national governments. Estimates in JMP reports may therefore differ from national estimates.

Drinking-water source categories

"Improved" sources of drinking-water:

  • Piped water into dwelling, also called a household connection, is defined as a water service pipe connected with in-house plumbing to one or more taps (e.g. in the kitchen and bathroom). [ v ]
  • Piped water to yard/plot, also called a yard connection, is defined as a piped water connection to a tap placed in the yard or plot outside the house. [ v ]
  • Public tap or standpipe is a public water point from which people can collect water. A standpipe is also known as a public fountain or public tap. Public standpipes can have one or more taps and are typically made of brickwork, masonry or concrete.v ]
  • Tubewell or borehole is a deep hole that has been driven, bored or drilled, with the purpose of reaching groundwater supplies. Boreholes/tubewells are constructed with casing, or pipes, which prevent the small diameter hole from caving in and protects the water source from infi ltration by run-off water. Water is delivered from a tubewell or borehole through a pump, which may be powered by human, animal, wind, electric, diesel or solar means. Boreholes/tubewells are usually protected by a platform around the well, which leads spilled water away from the borehole and prevents infiltration of run-off water at the well head.v ]
  • Protected dug well is a dug well that is protected from runoff water by a well lining or casing that is raised above ground level and a platform that diverts spilled water away from the well. A protected dug well is also covered, so that bird droppings and animals cannot fall into the well.v ]
  • Protected spring. The spring is typically protected from runoff, bird droppings and animals by a "spring box", which is constructed of brick, masonry, or concrete and is built around the spring so that water fl ows directly out of the box into a pipe or cistern, without being exposed to outside pollution.v ]
  • Rainwater refers to rain that is collected or harvested from surfaces (by roof or ground catchment) and stored in a container, tank or cistern until used.v ]

"Unimproved" sources of drinking-water:

  • Unprotected spring. This is a spring that is subject to runoff, bird droppings, or the entry of animals. Unprotected springs typically do not have a "spring box".v ]
  • Unprotected dug well. This is a dug well for which one of the following conditions is true: 1) the well is not protected from runoff water; or 2) the well is not protected from bird droppings and animals. If at least one of these conditions is true, the well is unprotected.v ]
  • Cart with small tank/drum. This refers to water sold by a provider who transports water into a community. The types of transportation used include donkey carts, motorized vehicles and other means.v ]
  • Tanker-truck. The water is trucked into a community and sold from the water truck.v ]
  • Surface water is water located above ground and includes rivers, dams, lakes, ponds, streams, canals, and irrigation channels.v ]
  • Bottled water is considered to be improved only when the household uses drinking-water from an improved source for cooking and personal hygiene; where this information is not available, bottled water is classified on a case-by-case basis.v ]

Sanitation categories

"Improved" sanitation:

  • Flush toilet uses a cistern or holding tank for flushing water, and a water seal (which is a U-shaped pipe below the seat or squatting pan) that prevents the passage of fl ies and odours. A pour fl ush toilet uses a water seal, but unlike a flush toilet, a pour fl ush toilet uses water poured by hand for fl ushing (no cistern is used).v ]
  • Piped sewer system is a system of sewer pipes, also called sewerage, that is designed to collect human excreta (faeces and urine) and wastewater and remove them from the household environment. Sewerage systems consist of facilities for collection, pumping, treating and disposing of human excreta and wastewater.v ]
  • Septic tank is an excreta collection device consisting of a water-tight settling tank, which is normally located underground, away from the house or toilet. The treated effluent of a septic tank usually seeps into the ground through a leaching pit. It can also be discharged into a sewerage system.v ]
  • Flush/pour flush to pit latrine refers to a system that flushes excreta to a hole in the ground or leaching pit (protected, covered).v ]
  • Ventilated improved pit latrine (VIP) is a dry pit latrine ventilated by a pipe that extends above the latrine roof. The open end of the vent pipe is covered with gauze mesh or fly-proof netting and the inside of the superstructure is kept dark.v ]
  • Pit latrine with slab is a dry pit latrine whereby the pit is fully covered by a slab or platform that is fitted either with a sqatting hole or seat. The platform should be solid and can be made of any type of material (concrete, logs with earth or mud, cement, etc.) as long as it adequately covers the pit without exposing the pit content other than through the sqatting hole or seat.v ]
  • Composting toilet is a dry toilet into which carbon-rich material (vegetable wastes, straw, grass, sawdust, ash) are added to the excreta and special conditions maintained to produce inoffensive compost. A composting latrine may or may not have a urine separation device.v ]
  • Special case. A response of "flush/pour flush to unknown place/not sure/DK where" is taken to indicate that the household sanitation facility is improved, as respondents might not know if their toilet is connected to a sewer or septic tank.v ]

Improved / unimproved

Types of drinking-water sources

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Types of sanitation

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"Unimproved" sanitation:

  • Flush/pour flush to elsewhere refers to excreta being deposited in or nearby the household environment (not into a pit, septic tank, or sewer). Excreta may be flushed to the street, yard/plot, open sewer, a ditch, a drainage way or other location.v ]
  • Pit latrine without slab uses a hole in the ground for excreta collection and does not have a squatting slab, platform or seat. An open pit is a rudimentary hole.v ]
  • Bucket refers to the use of a bucket or other container for the retention of faeces (and sometimes urine and anal cleaning material), which are periodically removed for treatment, disposal, or use as fertilizer.v ]
  • Hanging toilet or hanging latrine is a toilet built over the sea, a river, or other body of water, into which excreta drops directly.v ]
  • Shared sanitation refers to sanitation facilities although of an improved kind, but shared between two or more households and all public facilities. [ v ]
  • No facilities or bush or field includes defecation in the bush or fi eld or ditch; excreta deposited on the ground and covered with a layer of earth (cat method); excreta wrapped and thrown into garbage; and defecation into surface water (drainage channel, beach, river, stream or sea).v ]