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Water and Sanitation

Water and Sanitation

Drinking-water quality

Drinking-water quality is an issue of concern for human health in developing and developed countries world-wide. The risks arise from infectious agents , toxic chemicals and radiological hazards . Experience highlights the value of preventive management approaches spanning from water resource to consumer.

Water resources

An important fraction of the burden of water-related diseases (in particular: water-related vector-borne diseases) is attributable to the way water resources are developed and managed. In many parts of the world the adverse health impacts of water pollution, dam construction, irrigation development and flood control cause significant preventable disease.

Water, Sanitation and Health Program focuses on:

  • Water resource quality
  • Health impact assessment
  • Inter-sectional collaboration
  • Environmental management

Water, sanitation and hygiene development

Around 1.1 billion people globally do not have access to improved water supply sources whereas 2.4 billion people do not have access to any type of improved sanitation facility. About 2 million people die every year due to diarrhea diseases, most of them are children less than 5 years of age.

The most affected are the populations in developing countries, living in extreme conditions of poverty, normally peri-urban dwellers or rural inhabitants. Among the main problems which are responsible for this situation are: lack of priority given to the sector, lack of financial resources, lack of sustainability of water supply and sanitation services, poor hygiene behaviours, and inadequate sanitation in public places including hospitals, health centres and schools.

Providing access to sufficient quantities of safe water, the provision of facilities for a sanitary disposal of excreta, and introducing sound hygiene behaviours are of capital importance to reduce the burden of disease caused by these risk factors.

Waste water use

A growing world population, unrelenting urbanization, increasing scarcity of good quality water resources and rising fertilizer prices are the driving forces behind the accelerating upward trend in the use of wastewater, excreta and grey water for agriculture and aquaculture.

The health risks associated with this practice have been long recognized, but regulatory measures were, until recently, based on rigid guideline values whose application often was incompatible with the socio-economic settings where most wastewater use takes place.

Emerging issues in water and infectious disease

New diseases, including water-related diseases, periodically “emerge” either because they are newly recognized or because their importance increases. This may be due to the micro-organisms themselves evolving, to changes in the way we manage water resources and supplies; changes in the tools and methods used to study the organisms and the health effects they cause; or due to changes in the human population itself.

Issues which are presently being worked on include:

Severe health effects from infections acquired during recreational/bathing water use
Assessing and managing the safety of shell-fish growing waters


  • Articulating consistent, ethical and evidence-based policy and advocacy positions;
  • Managing information by assessing trends and comparing performance; setting the agenda for, and stimulating, research and development;
  • Catalyzing change through technical and policy support, in ways that stimulate cooperation and action and help to build sustainable national and inter regional capacity ;
  • Negotiating and sustaining national and global partnerships in water and sanitation matters
  • Setting, validating, monitoring and pursuing the proper implementation of norms and standards ;
  • Stimulating the development and testing of new technologies, tools and guidelines.
  • Design and construction of water and sanitation facilities
  • Creation of capacities for communities to manage their projects

Work With Us

Whether you decide to get involved with one of our many projects, or help out in campaigning for our projects, the time and energy you invest will make an incredible difference to the lives of people in desperate need.

Driven By Compassion For The Less Fortunate
About the author

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