Background Gradient


Paraguay is a landlocked South American country, bordering Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil. Paraguay is a country with a significant percentage of rural population and its economy is based mainly on agriculture. Due to its large rural population and limited resources, Paraguay faces a number of challenges in providing universal access to water and sanitation.

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 Paraguay's 2020 Permanent Household Survey which surveyed 4,842 representative households throughout the country. The survey collects some data on water in accordance with the WHO / UNICEF guidelines; however, the survey does not ask households to specify whether access to sanitation is exclusive nor does it specify the consistency of access to water, making it an imperfect tool to measure progress on SDG 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 Paraguay varies significantly between urban and rural areas, with urban households covered having much higher levels of access. About 37% of Paraguayans live in rural areas.

Inequality in Paraguay is evident when viewing the income quintiles of the country’s 2020 household survey. The inhabitants of households in the highest quintile obtain an average income 10.3 times higher than that of the lowest quintile.

Average monthly household income by quintile in local currency


Urbanization rate



Water access

Water access

In general, about 82% of households have access to piped water (to the home or the land). This aggregate figure hides greater differences between access in rural communities and in urban areas – 87% of urban households have access to piped water, compared to only 75% of rural households. The survey does not collect data on the continuity of piped water service.

Split data by:

Water Access Data by Quintile and Access Area

The above sankey diagram shows water access data disaggregated by community (rural/urban), income quintile, and the location of water access (piped in-home, to plot, or other). 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

Paraguay’s 2020 Permanent Household Survey does not collect data that specify whether sanitation facilities are exclusive. Exclusivity is a requirement in the framework of the SDGs for the classification of sanitation services as basic or safely managed.

Access to sanitation services is low compared to the rest of the region, since only approximately 63% of households have access to sanitation facilities connected to sewers or septic tanks. Among Paraguayans with least access (1st income quintile of the rural population) only 33% are connected to the sewer system or septic systems compared with 65% in the top quintile of the rural population. In urban areas, only 57% of households in the first income quintile have access to one of the above facilities, compared with 89% of urban households in the top quintile. As a result, the population relies heavily on latrines, both improved and unimproved, for managing waste.

Split data by:

Sanitation Data by Quintile and Access Area

The above sankey diagram shows sanitation access data broken down by community (rural/urban), income quintile, and type of facility. 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

Paraguay is one of the countries with the greatest water potential in the region, with annual per capita water availability of 55,000 m3/person/year. This figure demonstrates the country’s wealth in terms of both groundwater and surface water. In terms of surface water, Paraguay has a significant hydrographic network within the large basin of the Rio de la Plata. Although the availability of surface water resources is large, the spatial distribution is not balanced, so that, both in rural areas and in the interior of the country, the use of groundwater predominates. The Paraguay River divides the country into the Eastern region, where 97% of the total population lives, and the Western region, which represents 61% of Paraguayan territory. The Paraguay River basin occupies 67% of the Eastern region while the Paraná River basin occupies the remaining 33%.

Water Stress

Paraguay is classified as a country with low water stress due to its abundant renewable water resources. Despite this, projected climate change for Paraguay includes reduced precipitation and increased temperatures. In addition, there are threats to water resources related to the expansion of the agricultural frontier, contamination by agrochemicals and effluents, soil erosion, and dredging for navigability of waterways.

Wastewater Treatment

Nationally, every day, 2.9 million cubic meters of untreated wastewater are discharged into the Paraguay River and only 11% of sewage drains have treatment systems. Untreated wastewater infiltrates shallow aquifers (used for water supply) or is directly discharged into the streets, affecting the environment and the health of the population.

Water and Sanitation Management

Water and Sanitation Management

Institutional Framework

The Interinstitutional Coordination Committee for the Drinking Water and Sanitation Sector was created by Decree No. 874 of 2013, and amended by Decree No. 1402 of 2019. The committee is composed of 14 sector entities with the objective of coordinating and articulating the activities of the sector’s institutions for the advice and execution of sectoral policies.

Historically, the provision of water services has been the responsibility of two public entities: the Empresa de Servicios Sanitarios (ESSAP), which serves populations with more than 10,000 inhabitants, and the Servicio Nacional de Agua y Saneamiento (SENASA), which serves populations with less than 10,000 inhabitants.

Regulatory Framework

There are different laws, regulations and resolutions that regulate aspects related to the water and sanitation sector in Paraguay. Although the 1992 National Constitution of Paraguay does not declare water to be a public good, the General Law on the Regulatory and Tariff Framework for Water and Sanitation Law No. 1.614 of 2000 declares the provision of drinking water and sanitation services to be a public service and establishes the regulatory framework for drinking water and sewerage services in the country. Subsequently, the 2005 amendment to the Civil Code and the Water Resources Law (Law No. 3.239 of 2007) declared water as a water resource a good of public domain.

Among other related norms are:

  • Law Creating the National Sanitation Service [(Law No. 3.239 of 2007)]
  • Law Creating the National Sanitation Service - SENASA (Law No. 369 of 1973)
  • Municipal Organic Law (Law No. 3966 of 2010).

Development Programs and Plans

Paraguay has three water and sanitation sector plans:

  • i) the National Development Plan (PND) Paraguay 2030;
  • ii) the National Drinking Water and Sanitation Plan, Plan Nacional de Agua Potable y Saneamiento (PNAPS) and;
  • iii) the Water and Sanitation Sector Modernization Project, Proyecto de Modernización del Sector Agua y Saneamiento (PMSAS).