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Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development Vol 3 No 4 pp 638–645 © IWA Publishing 2013 doi:10.2166/washdev.2013.115

Sub-national inequities in Philippine water access associated with poverty and water potential

Alexandra Fehr, Murat Sahin and Matthew C. Freeman

Department of Environmental Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322
WASH Section, Program Division, UNICEF, 3 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017
Department of Environmental Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322 E-mail: mcfreem@emory.edu


The Philippines is one of many countries to have achieved the Millennium Development Goal target for improved access to drinking water. However, the national average masks sub-national inequities in access that underlie important information for policy makers and that have implications for health and development. We conducted a geospatial analysis on water access at the household and school levels, total water potential, and poverty incidence. We also compared water access at the household level between 1998 and 2008. We found significant spatial autocorrelation for all variables: the northern region had higher access to improved water sources, lower levels of poverty and less total water potential than the central or southern regions. Further, these trends did not change from 1998 to 2008. This study identifies the most marginalized areas within the Philippines. Our approach could be used by policy makers, donors and service delivery providers within the Philippines and elsewhere to better target water infrastructure projects.

Keywords: equity; geospatial analysis; Millennium Development Goals; water access

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