By Astrid Zweynert
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Papua New Guinea is the most difficult and expensive place in the world to access clean water, forcing the poor to spend more than half their income on this essential resource, a charity said on Tuesday.
Some 650 million people do not have access to clean water, and often have to make do with much less than the 50 liters per person per day the World Health Organization says is necessary for domestic use and to maintain health and hygiene, Water Aid said.
Lack of access to an affordable, convenient source of clean water is one of the biggest barriers to escaping a life of poverty and disease, the charity said in its report "State of the World's Water 2016".
An estimated three out of four jobs globally are dependent on water, meaning that shortages and lack of access are likely to limit economic growth in the coming decades, according to a United Nations report, also released on Tuesday.
Below are some facts about the cost of water and access to it.* In Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby, it costs apoor person 54 percent of a day's earnings to buy therecommended minimum 50 liters of water from a delivery service. * In Madagascar's capital Antananarivo, the cost of buying50 liters of water from a truck is 45 percent of a person'sdaily pay, while in Ghana's capital Accra it is 25 percent. * A British person earning the minimum wage spends 0.1percent of a day's pay on 50 liters of water from an officialpiped supply. Average use is about 150 liters per person, perday. * In Mozambique, families relying on black-market vendorswill spend up to 100 times as much on water as those reached bygovernment-subsidized tapstands. * Papua New Guinea, Equatorial Guinea and Angola have thelowest percentage of households with access to clean water inthe world. * In 16 countries, some 40 percent or more of the populationdo not have access to clean water. * Cambodia, Mali, Laos and Ethiopia have made the greatestimprovement in increasing access to water. * Despite much progress, inequalities persist even innations that have made great strides, the poorest often payingthe highest percentage of their income on water.
Sources: Water Aid, United Nations
(Reporting by Astrid Zweynert, editing by Alisa Tang. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories)