58. The overall performance of water and wastewater services, in terms of their quality and efficiency, varies widely in the region, but positive trends have been registered on several variables since the last SoS report, showing that utilities in the region are slowly converging toward international standards. The overall performance of utilities appears largely driven by the country’s own level of development, with EU members generally leading the way.

59. This chapter covers services provided by formal utilities or service providers (“public supply”), which serve about 82 percent of the population in the region (see Chapter III). Unfortunately, little information is available about the performance, quality, or even cost structures of informal providers (community or village systems and self-supplied households), which serve the remaining 18 percent. An attempt to characterize these informal providers was done in 2017 through a review of rural water supply and sanitation services in seven countries of the Danube region.

60. Most of the information in this chapter is derived from the SoS 2018 updated data collection and referenced individually in the country tables at the end of the document. The chapter also sources the large dataset available, from International Benchmarking Network for Water and Sanitation Utilities (IBNET) DANUBIS.org database, which covers more than 450 utilities and close to 3,400 observations between 1995 and 2017. Both sources entail potential data challenges, which are explained in the methodological note in Appendix B.