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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Antigua and Barbuda

Progress on achieving SDG 6

Over 97% of the population has access to drinking water, 88% of the population has access to sanitation services and 86 % of households are served by the public water supply system that is managed by the Antigua Public Utilities Authority, with the remainder resorting to cisterns and wells.

Regarding to sanitation, about 85 % of households use water closets and 10 % use pit-latrines. The absence of a municipal wastewater treatment plant on the island of Antigua has led to a rapid increase in septic tanks, which are poorly built and maintained leading to the pollution.

The country’s agricultural and municipal (domestic and commercial) water demands are being met by four desalination plants, two surface water treatment plants, numerous small ponds and wells. However, the demand for water has drastically exceeded the available supply from ground and surface water.

Antigua and Barbuda ranks as one of the most water-stressed countries in the Caribbean (total renewable water resources per capita at 566.3 m3/year). The FAO defines countries like Antigua and Barbuda, as water-scarce with less than 1000 m3 of freshwater resources per capita.

Groundwater resources are increasingly being threatened by population growth, pollution, unsustainable development patterns and climate change. Climate change is expected to bring a decrease in water availability and a greater vulnerability for water resource management.

The country faces challenges with respect to the distribution of water due to aging infrastructure, leakages and high unaccounted-for water due to corrosion and leaking pipes and inadequate storage. Other issues and challenges identified that have implications for water resources management are deforestation, land degradation, pollution of coastal water and underground water sources, and waste management. These factors have contributed to the country being increasingly dependent on desalination to produce freshwater for consumption which is also more expensive to produce.

The management of water is guided by the Public Utilities Act 1973 which is outdated but under which responsibilities for water management are dispersed across several agencies within government. One initiative that has been promoted to households by the Government is rainwater harvesting. By law, all new houses are fitted and equipped with rainwater collection and storage systems.

Read the full report here: VNR - Antigua and Barbuda 


*The information reflected on this page has been taken directly from the official VNR received from this Member State. The information does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations.