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  • The Azimuth Team

Political Roots of Clean Water

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

Azimuth advisor Aseem Prakash published a piece today in the Washington Post explaining why democracies do a better job than autocracies in providing their populations with clean drinking water.

Governments typically favor clean water delivery to urban populations, Prakash writes with Sijeong Lim, because urban areas wield more political power, regardless of the country's overall political system. As a result, rural areas are routinely under-served in both democracies and autocracies.

Yet since rural voters are the majority in most low income countries, democratic political systems push governments to do a better job of taking rural water needs into account. "With competitive elections," Prakash and Lim write, "politicians pay closer attention to rural needs, including access to drinking water."

March 22 is World Water Day. To read the full Washington Post article, please click here.

Aseem Prakash is a professor of political science and environmental studies at the University of Washington, and is the Azimuth advisor for environmental regulations, corporate governance, and research methods.

Azimuth Social Research provides high quality, international qualitative and quantitative research for project monitoring and evaluation, decision-making, and strategy. To learn more, please email us at


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