This paper looks beyond the dominant view of access to water – defined as coverage. It shows that, while the spread of improved water sources has widened, problems of affordability, quality, distribution, and reliability (“deep access”) are pervasive. In turn, it argues that declarations about water in international development discourse such as “access to water has increased” can be misleading. Development in practice must look beyond “wide” to “deep” meanings of access to water.
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