A new tool to monitor water, sanitation commitments

WaterAid's new WASHwatch.org tool reveals how much developing nations are budgeting for water conservation and sanitation services, then rates them.

International non-governmental organization WaterAid this week launched a new online tool to help monitor government commitments and financing for water conservation and sanitation.

Called WASHwatch.org -- for WAter supply, Sanitation and Hygiene -- the website aims to increase transparency around how much governments of developing nations are actually budgeting for water-related services.

The resource was launched during World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden.

Here's what they have to say about it:

Governments across Africa and Asia have long been making promises around increasing access to water and sanitation, but progress is not being made quickly enough. Across the world, 884 million people still lack access to safe water, and 2.6 billion people have nowhere safe to go to the toilet. The resulting diarrheal diseases kill 4,000 children every single day.

It's all about accountability. The site rates developing nations' progress through various categories and offers a final grade (out of 20) for each country's efforts. For example, Bangladesh is doing a bang-up job on water (18 out of 20), while neighbors Pakistan and India are less impressive (9 out of 20).

For now, the website lacks comprehensive information on many countries and completely avoids developing nations. (To that point, it's interesting to see which nations the NGO deems "developing" -- Mexico?! -- and not: Saudi Arabia?!)

Nevertheless, it's a promising start to quantify a sector that's lacking consistent standards -- and spot business opportunities along the way.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com