Background Gradient


Honduras is a country located in Central America with a population of more than 9 million inhabitants. Despite being a relatively small country, having a mountainous topography and a diversity of heights and wetlands, Honduras has a variety of climatic zones. Its diversity of altitudes and ecosystems means that there is a great climatic diversity depending mainly on the altitudes of the country. Honduras can be subdivided into three main climatic regions: the Caribbean region is the hottest and most humid zone. On the contrary, the central zone is warmer and drier. Finally, the Pacific region has a tropical but drier climate. Most of the population is located between the central and peaceful zones, which creates various 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 2018 Multipurpose Household Permanent Survey which surveyed 6,151 representative households. The survey collects some data on water and sanitation in their household surveys in accordance with the WHO / UNICEF guidelines. In particular, it is the only survey in the region that makes it possible to estimate the distance that must be traveled to collect water. However, it does not correctly distinguish the categories of non-piped water or non-improved latrine, which makes it difficult to correctly estimate the indicators of SDG 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 Honduras varies significantly between urban and rural areas, with urban households enjoying much higher access coverage. About 47% of Hondurans live in rural areas.

Inequality in Honduras is evident when viewing the income quintiles from the country’s 2018 household survey. Each quintile represents 20% of Honduran 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 Honduras, where the income of households in the top income quintile is 21.2 times higher than those of the bottom quintile.

Average monthly household income by quintile in local currency


Urbanization rate



Water access

Water access

Hondurans living in urban areas enjoy greater access to piped water sources at home, while Hondurans living in rural communities face many more difficulties. For example, 61% of urban Honduran households have piped water to the home, in comparison with 27% of rural households. At the same time, there are important socioeconomic differences in the level of access – only 73% of the poorest households have piped water (either in-home or to plot). In comparison, more than 96% of households in the highest income quintile have piped water access.

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 Honduras shows several inequalities. Honduras has limited sewer coverage, with only 36% of homes being connected to the sewer network. Most of this corresponds to urban homes where 63% have facilities connected to a sewer system, whereas only 3% of rural homes are connected to a sewer system. 20% of urban homes and 25% of rural ones have septic tanks. 13% of rural households do not have any sanitary facilities at all.

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

Water availability in Honduras per person is 9,772 m3/person/year. The country’s surface water is captured by 24 watersheds and 87% is drained into the Caribbean Sea and the remaining 13% into the Pacific Ocean. These surface waterbodies transport an average rainwater discharge of 92,813 km3/year. Groundwater resources have not been precisely evaluated, but Honduras is considered to have abundante groundwater resources in the lowlands of the northern and southern part of the country.

Water Stress

Honduras is classified as a country with a low water stress level. Despite this, among the risks facing the country’s water resources are deforestation, burning and forest fires, expansion of the agricultural frontier, inappropriate land use, overgrazing, and inadequate construction of rural roads and highways. In addition, most coastal areas with high population density suffer from saline intrusion due to overexploitation of the freshwater phreatic mantle.

Wastewater Treatment

In Honduras, there are a limited number of domestic wastewater treatment plants in operation. About 27.3% of the wastewater from the urban population receives some type of treatment prior to discharge. In 2007, the “Elvin Ernesto Santos Lozano” Wastewater Treatment Plant was inaugurated in Tegucigalpa, which treats 20% of the wastewater generated in the city.

Water and Sanitation Management

Institutional Framework

Honduras has different entities and agencies that are part of the drinking water and sanitation sector. The main roles established are: sector steering; regulation and control of service provision; sectoral technical support; ownership to establish conditions for service provision; service provision; water resources steering; water quality monitoring; sectoral investments and citizen participation.

Regulatory Framework

The main regulations governing the drinking water and sanitation sector in Honduras are:

  • Constitution of the Republic of Honduras of 1982 (Decree No. 131 of 1982)
  • Municipalities Law (Decree No. 134 of 1990)
  • Health Code of 1991 (Decree No. 65 of 1991)
  • Framework Law of the Potable Water and Sanitation Sector (Decree No. 118 of 2003)
  • General Water Law (Decree No. 181 of 2009)
  • Law for the Establishment of a Country Vision and the Adoption of a Nation Plan for Honduras (Decree Law No. 286 of 2010)
  • Legislative Decree No. 270 of 2012

Development Programs and Plans

In Honduras there are different plans and programs related to the water and sanitation sector, of which the following are part:

  • National Drinking Water and Sanitation Sector Policy
  • Water Security Plans, Planes de Seguridad del Agua (PSA)
  • Strategic Plan for the Modernization of the Drinking Water and Sanitation Sector
  • Country Vision 2010-2038
  • National Plan 2010-2022 of Honduras