Situation Analysis Tool: Causal Analysis


A causal analysis aims at documenting all relevant causes that impede the realization of the human right to water and sanitation.

Why is the right to water and sanitation not guaranteed?

  • Immediate causes determine the current status of the problem.
    Ex. “The entire water supply system depends on groundwater, which does not fulfill drinking water standards”.
  • Underlying causes are often the consequence of policies, laws and unavailability of resources. They may reveal related complex issues and require interventions that take significant time to obtain results (at least five years).
    Ex. “Municipalities don´t have enough budget to solve the problem”.
  • Root/structural causes reveal conditions that require long-term interventions in order to change societal attitudes and behaviour at different levels, including those at the family, community and higher decision-making level.
    Ex. Awareness is needed both at citizen and government level.

FIGURE 1: Causal Analysis

The following guiding questions may be useful in this identification process.

Is there a minimum essential amount of water supplied for personal and domestic uses per person per day?
Are there many days of disruption on water supply?
Is drinking water quality below the national standards?
Are the physical designs for water points and toilets appropriate to number and needs of users (women and men?)
Why not?
Does time/distance between household and water and sanitation services allow everybody to access them?
Why not?
Is there population with no economical access to safe drinking water and sanitation in the rural and/or peri-urban areas?
Access to information
Is relevant data on water and sanitation available to all?
Why not?
Is there a lack of participation of population in the development, implementation and monitoring of the water and sanitation programs?
Are there penalties and disincentives for pollution of water resources to ensure drinking water quality for water utilities?
Is there a national/local regulatory/advisory body for water and sanitation services and monitoring?
Why not?