Background Gradient

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a country located in the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola with a population of around 11 million people. Despite being a relatively small country, having a mountainous topography, the Dominican Republic has one of the most varied climates in the entire Caribbean. Its diversity of altitudes and ecosystems means that despite being relatively small, there is great climatic diversity. The Dominican Republic can be subdivided into three main climatic regions: the northwest region that is characterized by higher rainfall, the west, which is characterized by being an area with little rain and a more humid central area with temperate climates. Therefore, despite having a relatively small territory, its diversity of reliefs and ecosystems generate significant challenges in water management.

A rich source of information for measuring the current state of access to water and sanitation are household surveys. Throughout Latin America and the Carribean, household surveys provide us with representative data of the countries' population, validated by statistical institutes, which allow cross-checking with other social statistics such as area, income, and gender breakdowns.

This page relies heavily on data from the 2020 National Continuous Labor Force Survey surveyed 5,793 representative households to collect data on living conditions and labor thoughout the country. The survey collects some data on water access and sanitation in accordance with the WHO / UNICEF guidelines; however, the survey does not provide metrics to estimate non-piped improved water sources, or differentiate between improved and unimproved latrines, making it difficult to accurately estimate SDGs 6.1 and 6.2.

For more information on why OLAS uses household surveys, click here.

Data sources:

Progress Towards Measuring SDG 6


Access to water and sanitation in the Dominican Republic varies significantly between urban and rural areas, where urban households enjoy much higher rates of access. About 17% of Dominicans live in rural areas.

Inequality in the Dominican Republic becomes evident when viewing the income quintiles of the 2018 country’s household survey. Each quintile represents 20% of Dominican households, with the 1st quintile representing the lowest per capita income, and the 5th representing the highest income in the country. Income inequality is a problem in the Dominican Republic, as the average income per capita of the top quintile is 10.5 times higher than that of the bottom quintile.

Average monthly household income by quintile in local currency


Urbanization rate



Water access

Water access

Dominicans living in urban areas enjoy higher rates of access to piped water sources, while Dominicans living in rural communities face more difficulties. For example, 73% of urban Dominican households have piped water to the home, while only 51% of rural households do. At the same time, there are important socioeconomic differences in the level of access. For example, only 57% of the poorest households (lowest income quintile) have piped water in the home, in contrast to 82% of households in the top quintile.

Split data by:

Water Access Data by Quintile and Access Area

The above sankey diagram shows water access data broken down by community, income quintile, location of water access, and continuity of water access. When hovering over the diagram, the number displayed shows the ratio of respondents that fit into the category on the right that come from the category on the left.

Sanitation Access

Sanitation Access

Access to sanitation in the Dominican Republic shows several inequalities of access. The Dominican Republic has low sewer coverage, with only 23% of homes connected to a sewer network. Most of this corresponds to urban homes (27%), while only 2% of rural homes are connected to the network. A greater proportion of both use septic tanks – 66% of urban households and 68% of rural households. More than 27% of rural households use improved or non-improved latrines as the main sanitation solution, and 1% of households do not have sanitary facilities.

Split data by:

Sanitation Data by Quintile and Access Area

The above sankey diagram shows sanitation access data broken down by community, income quintile, type of facility, and whether that facility is exclusive to the household. When hovering over the diagram, the number displayed shows the ratio of respondents that fit into the category on the right that come from the category on the left.

Water Resources

Water Resources

Water Availability

In the Dominican Republic there is a water availability of 25,967 km3/year, of which 90% corresponds to surface sources and the rest to groundwater sources. The annual per capita availability is 2,676 m3/person/year. There are approximately 4,000 surface water streams. These originate mainly in the Central Cordillera, which contains the sources of 709 rivers and streams, the Northern Cordillera, which originates 243 rivers and streams, and the Eastern Cordillera which is the source of 193 rivers and streams. However, the geographical distribution of waters is not homogeneous in the national territory.

Water Stress

The Dominican Republic is classified as a country with a high water stress level. Water consumption is above the recharge capacity of the water systems, an issue which is caused mainly by unplanned water withdrawals to meet the growing irrigated agriculture, urban, and industrial demand. Although the country’s demand is being met, an increase in water pressure has been observed in different regions, especially in the Yaque del Norte Region, which uses 97% of available resources.

Wastewater Availability

Of the total water used in the Dominican Republic, 80% is considered wastewater, of which 28% is collected through sewerage networks. Of the flow captured in the sewage network, 38% is treated and the remaining 62% remains as untreated wastewater which is released into water bodies.

Water and Sanitation Management

Water and Sanitation Management

Institutional Framework

In 2016, the Water Resource Coordination Board was created to promote intersectoral coordination among the 13 entities with important functions and roles in the water and sanitation sector. It was also charged with implementing a comprehensive water management strategy in the country, and preserving the quality and quantity of the country’s water resources.