Impact Evaluation Study of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation in Punjab, Pakistan

Date: August 2009
Type: Evaluation Reports
Evaluation; Water
Series: Impact Evaluation Studies
Project Number: 23221-013; 35314-013


In Asia and the Pacific, 700 million people live without decent water supplies and 2 billion without adequate sanitation; the problem is particularly grave in the rural areas, where the majority of the poor reside.

In addressing this issue, the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) emphasis has been on expanding coverage. Yet in a 2006 review of ADB’s water policy, an independent expert panel said it found no empirical evidence that poor people necessarily benefit from improved coverage.

This impact evaluation study assesses the performance of Punjab Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project, and Punjab Community Water Supply and Sanitation Project in Pakistan to assess project performance and identify lessons for maximizing the development effectiveness of water supply and sanitation interventions. Overall, ADB assistance to rural water supply and sanitation projects was successful, but at the low end of the scale.

The evaluation showed that the projects significantly improved household access to water supply, reduced drudgery among the lowest socioeconomic group, improved high school attendance among girls in the middle socioeconomic group, and increased leisure time for female members of households. But at the aggregate level, the projects had no significant impact on primary health, such as the incidence and intensity of diarrhea, or on labor force participation and hours worked.

Among the lessons of the project, the design focus of water and sanitation projects needs to extend beyond improving access to water supply, and include wastewater and solid waste management. It should also include greater support from nongovernment organizations and the private sector for the community-based organizations that are responsible for subprojects.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Overview of ADB Strategy and Operations in Water Supply and Sanitation
  • The Projects
  • Methodology and Data for Impact Evaluation and Sustainability Analysis
  • Results and Discussion
  • Performance Assessment
  • Lessons and Recommendations
  • Appendixes
  • Supplementary Appendixes