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

January 30, 2009

Bangladesh: Easy Like Water

Glenn Baker, Stephen Sapienza

In Bangla, "easy like water" translates roughly as "piece of cake." The irony is that in Bangladesh -- with 150 million people in a country the size of Iowa, water poses a relentless threat. With increasingly violent cyclones and accelerating glacier melt upstream, flooding may create 20 million Bangladeshi...

November 06, 2008

The Next Wave: Climate Refugees in the South Pacific

Jennifer Redfearn

Climate change is threatening to displace 2,500 inhabitants of the Carteret Atoll in the South Pacific. Their stories are the main topic explored in the Academy Award®-nominated film Sun Come Up.

January 12, 2008

Water Wars: Ethiopia and Kenya

Sarah Stuteville, Alex Stonehill, Jessica Partnow, Ernest Waititu

In Ethiopia and Kenya, dry seasons grow longer and tribal conflict over access to water is on the rise, exacerbated by the proliferation of arms from Somalia. With clean water access scarce, the burden of securing a daily water supply has become a daunting task.

May 07, 2007

Peru's Petroleum Play: Amazon Oil and Politics

Kelly Hearn

Oil and gas finds are turning the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains and the adjacent Amazonian lowlands of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia into a hydrocarbon hotspot.

Listening for Landslides

A year after a devastating earthquake triggered killer avalanches and rock falls in Nepal, scientists are wiring up mountainsides to forecasts hazards.

Meet Students From Bangladesh

Students at solar-powered school boats along the Atrai River in northwestern Bangladesh talk about their studies, ambitions and daily life in an area marked by monsoons, water and sanitation challenges and one of the most densely populated regions on earth.

Meet Jon Sawyer

Jon Sawyer is founding director of the Pulitzer Center. His assignments have taken him to some five dozen countries, with special projects ranging from southern Africa, Cuba and Haiti to Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and China.

Meet Sean Gallagher

Sean Gallagher is a British photographer currently based in China. To date he has lived and worked across the world, spending extended periods of time in locations as diverse as Japan, Brazil, New Zealand, China, the United Arab Emirates and various European nations.

This Week: China's Poisoned Soil

This week: Staggering levels of soil pollution in China linked to heavy-metal contamination of rivers, cadmium-related deaths, and new cancer "hot spots." Cleaning up the mess will cost trillions.

Can Malaria Be Stopped?

Inadequate medical care, substandard sanitation, and counterfeit drugs are just some of the reasons why malaria continues to claim millions of lives worldwide. Could chemoprevention be the answer?