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Safely managed drinking water services in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: findings from the 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey
npj Clean Water  (IF9.378),  Pub Date : 2020-06-09, DOI: 10.1038/s41545-020-0074-6
Caetano C. Dorea, Tatjana Karaulac, Kencho Namgyal, Rob Bain, Tom Slaymaker, Richard Johnston

Safely managed drinking water services (SMDWS) is the service ladder used for the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) monitoring of drinking water and expands on the Millennium Development Goal metric (“improved water source”) with three additional criteria, namely: availability when needed, accessibility on premises, and safety (free from faecal and priority chemical contamination). Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) have been used for progress monitoring accounting for a significant fraction of the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) indicator data. In its most recent iteration MICS now includes additional SMDWS indicators. The objective of this study was to report on recent SDG target 6.1 baseline data on SMDWS from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea gathered from a MICS conducted in 2017. Survey results indicated that 93.7% of the population used an improved drinking water source, but when this was combined with the SDG criteria of water availability, accessibility, and safety, coverage was reduced to 92.3, 78.2, and 74.4%, respectively. This resulted in estimates that 60.9% of the population used a SMDWS. The survey results illustrate how the improved SDG indicators can highlight the required gaps to be overcome with regard to universal and equitable access to SMDWS. Further analysis and discussion regarding water quality deterioration between source and household as well as population residence, wealth group index, geographical distribution, and other characteristics relative to SMDWS indicators are also further analysed and discussed.