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

East Africa: Access to Water

In much of the developing world, women spend more time fetching water than any other activity in their day. For more than a billion people, the water they do get is unsafe.

Can Biotechnology Save Africa?

African farmers already struggle to grow sufficient maize, which is a thirsty, fertilizer-hungry crop. What will happen as the climate changes and the population grows?

Heat of the Moment

Planet Earth's average temperature has risen about one degree Fahrenheit in the last fifty years. By the end of this century it will be several degrees higher, according to the latest climate research. But global warming is doing more than simply making things a little warmer.

Kenya: Uneasy Neighbors

Kenya's Kakuma Refugee Camp was for years among the world's most famous, home to the "Lost Boys" of southern Sudan and as many as 90,000 refugees and displaced persons. Today those still here are fighting for their lives, caught between "donor fatigue" and a struggle over limited resources with...

South Asia's Troubled Waters

The majority of India's water sources are polluted. A lack of access to safe water contributes to a fifth of its communicable diseases. Each day in the booming, nuclear-armed nation, diarrhea alone kills more than 1,600 people.

The regional scenario is even more grim given the projected...

A Changing World? Pulitzer Center Photography Exhibition

Pulitzer Center student fellows travel the world to report on issues that affect us all—telling stories that might otherwise go untold. This exhibit features selected work by student fellows, shot on location in countries now undergoing rapid transformation, from the roads in Bangkok to a Maasai village in Tanzania.

Male Fish + Chemicals = ??

While many are not aware of the details of modern water pollution, most understand the frightening words: “toxic chemicals”.

Field Notes Podcast: Featuring Our Student Fellows

Our student fellows and professional journalists reflect on the importance of being flexible, remaining open to where stories lead, and listening to the people whose stories we tell.