Themost marginalised members of rural populations face numerous barriers to safe drinking water. Barriers include stigma, as well as social, economic, institutional and physical barriers that differ according to people’s geographical location; to group related inequalities such as ethnicity, religion and language; and to individual-related inequalities such as sex/gender, age, disability and health conditions. Numerous initiatives have been undertaken over the past few years to analyse and overcome some of these barriers (e.g. Waterpoint Mapping, WASH Bottleneck Analysis (BAT), barrier analysis and inclusive WASH). However, the voice of governments is notably quiet in these initiatives and there is still a paucity of data with respect to inequalities within communities or between households. In addition, the usefulness of the various initiatives and tools is not known.