B. Sanitation and Sewerage

50. Only five countries provide more than 75 percent of their population with safely managed sanitation services. SDG 6.2 targets the achievement, by 2030, of adequate and equitable access to sanitation and hygiene for all. This objective is being monitored through a dedicated indicator that reports the proportion of population using safely managed sanitation services. According to the data gathered by WHO/JMP, five countries in the region provide more than 75 percent of their population with safely managed water services (Figure 22). Unsurprisingly, these countries are all EU member states. However, Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia provide less than 60 percent of their population with safely managed sanitation services, showing some room for improvement even among EU member countries. Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are lagging with less than 25 percent of their population accessing safely managed sanitation services.

51. According to 2015 WHO/JMP data, 60 percent24 of the Danube population, or 78.8 million, are connected to sewer networks, representing an increase of 6 percent and 2 percent from 2006 and 2012 rates, respectively. Although progress has been made since 2006 in increasing the coverage of the population with connection to sewers, changes are mostly visible among EU member countries, driven mostly by improvements in connection rates in Romania and Bulgaria (Figure 23). For Moldova, Montenegro, and Ukraine, access to sewers is decreasing, while it is stagnating for Slovakia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

52. Even more than in piped water supply, lack of access to improved sanitation is most prevalent in rural areas or areas with low population density. The difference between urban and rural access to sewer connection is the largest in non-EU countries (Moldova and Ukraine, see Figure 24). Montenegro has the lowest rate of urban population connected to sewers, with 60 percent. Half of the Danube countries have at least 80 percent of their urban population connected to sewers, but about 5.5 million, or 4 percent of the region’s population, have access only to unimproved sanitation. Most of the population with unimproved sanitation are in rural areas, and two-thirds of the people in the region with unimproved sanitation which are in Romania.