Issue

Water and Sanitation

Water issues affect us all, from the women who spend hours a day fetching water to political battles over international rivers to melting icepack and rising sea levels. We are all downstream.

Worldwide, just under 900 million people lack reliable access to safe water that is free from disease and industrial waste. And 40 percent do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities. The result is one of the world's greatest public health crises: 4,500 children die every day from waterborne diseases, more than from HIV-AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

A robust economy depends on water. So does a thriving ecosystem. Enter politics, fulcrum of the water issue, weighing the fate of economies against the health of individuals and of the environment as a whole. Balance has been elusive. One fifth of the world's population lives in areas where water is physically scarce, and a quarter of the population faces shortages due to lack of infrastructure.

Water and Sanitation was produced by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in partnership with National Geographic, PBS NewsHour, the Common Language Project, and the Under-Told Stories Project. Support provided by the Laird Norton Family Foundation and individual donors.

 

 

Water and Sanitation

After Nepal Quakes, Worries in the Water

The 2015 Nepal earthquakes threatened to exacerbate the ongoing struggle with waterborne diseases by damaging already fragile sewer systems that leak pathogens into the water supply.

Nepal: Life After An Earthquake

Aid workers have not been able to reach some of the remote parts of Nepal. So it's up to the villagers to rebuild their homes and their lives. And the clock is ticking as monsoon season nears.

Is Clean India a Pipe Dream?

The Indian government's push to improve sanitation is ambitious and well-intentioned, but does little to help the most marginalized groups in Indian society.

Indonesia: Dita's World

A young girl in Indonesia lives with the effects of an "uncommon disease"—mercury intoxication from gold mining pollution near her home.

Ameto Akpe at the Wilson Center

Ameto Akpe's presentation on water management in Nigeria is highlighted on the New Security Beat, a blog hosted by the Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program.