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

August 21, 2015

Open Defecation in India

Ann Schraufnagel

Six hundred million Indians defecate outside every day. What does this mean for Indian society and what will it take to change this practice?

May 05, 2015

Nicaragua Canal

Chris Kraul

Nicaragua says a $50 billion interoceanic canal would give the country the economic boost it needs to escape grinding poverty. But environmentalists and scientists say the project is poorly planned.

April 07, 2015

Rejuvenating Ganga

Cameron Conaway

India has declared 2015-2016 as Jal Kranti Varsh, or Water Revolution Year. What will this mean for the Ganges, the country’s most sacred and notoriously polluted river?

October 02, 2014

Cholera: A Tale of Two Cities

Sonia Shah

The cholera epidemic that hit Haiti four years ago bears some startling resemblances to one that devastated Manhattan two centuries earlier.

September 03, 2014

India: Damming Sacred Rivers

Tom Clement

In the Indian border state of Sikkim, indigenous Himalayan communities charted for hydroelectric dam construction fight to protect their sacred rivers.

India: Toiling for a Toilet

A sanitation scheme has deepened rural indebtedness and perpetuated migratory labor. Yardain Amron reports on the race to make every open village defecation-free by 2019.

The World's Most Toxic Places

This week: unregulated textile factories across Asia, a Somali migrant profiled, Jon Sawyer and Marvin Kalb dissect Trump and the media.