Comparing Urban and Rural WaSH: Evidence from the Solomon Islands

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) are important for human health, well-being, and development. Providing such in a Small Island Development State such as the Solomon Islands, which consists of more than 900 islands, however, is challenging. The Solomon Island Government National rural WASH Policy addresses WaSH and aims at providing “easy access to sufficient quantity and quality of water, appropriate sanitation and a safe and hygienic environment to all Islanders by 2024”.

To develop baseline estimates for the SDGs and to inform national WaSH policy, strategic planning, and programming in the Solomon Islands, nationally representative WaSH surveys were conducted in rural and urban areas. These revealed that radical change is needed to rapidly scale up access to WaSH in the Solomon Islands to achieve this ambitious vision.

Preliminary analysis suggests that 67% of the urban/peri-urban households are provided access to a basic water source and that the most commonly used sources were rainwater and piped water. 68% of households used a basic sanitation service and less than half (43%) of households used a basic hygiene service. Out of the rural households, 55% provided access to a basic water source and mainly relied on public tap water or standpipes. Only 14% of households surveyed reported access to a basic sanitation facility while 79% of households had no facility and practiced open defecation. 17% of the households had access to basic hygiene. Generally, the availability of household WaSH services varied substantially by province. The regression analyses reveal that the access to basic WaSH is determined and challenged by different factors in urban and rural areas of the Solomon Islands.

The data highlight several areas for improvement including addressing inequalities in service availability and building more resilient WaSH systems to prevent service disruptions due to extreme weather events and climate change.
Period31 Oct 2018
Event titleUNC Water and Health: Where Science Meets Policy 2018
Event typeConference
LocationChapel Hill, United States, North CarolinaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Water
  • sanitation
  • hygiene
  • urbanization
  • SDG 6
  • WASH monitoring
  • Solomon Islands
  • extreme weather events
  • Pacific