Water and Sanitation Needs Assessment Tool

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The Water and Sanitation Needs Assessment Tool was developed in 2006 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to assess the estimates and associated costs needed to support water and sanitation interventions as part of a national investment strategy for meeting the Millennium Development Goals. It consists of a spreadsheet and a user guide.

The tool comprises a four-step process (Fonseca et al., 2011):

1) Developing a list of interventions

2) Setting targets for the interventions, for example the proportion of the population to be covered by 2015

3) Estimating the financial, human and other resources needed

4) Aggregation of all the financial needs assessments and creation of a ten-year MDG framework

According to Wiemers (2005), this Excel-based needs assessment tool integrates the information input by the user to generate these estimates. It uses outcome targets, coverage targets and ratios, and disaggregated costs to develop aggregate estimates as well as intervention-by-intervention estimates of resource requirements. Similarly, simple ratios between beneficiaries, HR parameters, and infrastructure yield the non-monetary results. A simple ten-year scale up path allows users to map out the yearly investments needed to meet 2015 targets.

This tool is used at macro level and the disaggregated costs are assumed to be known and aggregated for different types of selected interventions (Tandon and Pizarro, 2006).


  • Water and Sanitation Tool download
  • Water and Sanitation Needs Assessment Model: USER GUIDE

Key documents

  • Tandon, P. and Pizarro, G., 2006. Water and Sanitation Needs Assessment Tool for use in assessing national needs to achieve the MDGs. New York, NY, USA: UN Millennium Project, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)