There is a strong association between family income and absolute money spent on water. Wealthier families spend more money on water, but poor families spend a higher portion of their income on water.
Improvements in access to water and sanitation yields an excellent cost-benefit ratio primarily because of the time saved in accessing improved water and sanitation sources.
Every $1.00 invested in access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene yields a return of $5.00 to $46.00, depending on the type of intervention, according to the Pan American Health Organization (View PAHO report here). For example, promotion of adequate hygiene where there is access to clean water leads to a 30-40% reduction in the incidence of diarrhea, resulting in significant savings in doctor and hospital visits, medication and lost work hours. According to the UN Water Sanitation and Water for All campaign, “Research on the economics of sanitation and water indicates that no other single intervention brings greater public health returns; that the annual economic impact of poor sanitation is more than 5-6% of GDP in some countries; and that meeting the Millennium Development Target in sanitation would add 300 billion working days a year globally.”
Access to water and sanitation services has a positive impact on property values, while polluted water bodies reduce values.
Clean water bodies and clean environments are more attractive and have richer biodiversity, which give rise to better human wellbeing and to economic activities, notably leisure and tourism industries.