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

Ethiopia: Dawn in Addis

5:30am and still dark. But the rooster knows the sun is coming and his crow trills up past the sulfurous street lamps into the still night sky.

He’s woken the dogs, and suddenly their frantic howling seems to come from the top of every hill in Addis, making the city seem surrounded by their feral packs.

The sharp barks are soon undercut by the rising moan of the muezzin. He sings the same words that have woken me around the world, but his melody here is unique, more of a monotonous chanting than the sung declaration I’ve heard before.

Ethiopia: My Romantic Reunion with Africa

Close to 40 hours after leaving Athens, Ohio, I arrived to my destination in Addis. My Emirates flight was not exactly that long...I had two stopovers - four hours in Hamburg and 12 in Dubai. It is the kind of thing you have to contend with when you make a decision to fly cheap.

Peru's Petroleum Play

The Camisea Natural Gas Project in Peru is one of South America's largest energy developments. With six pipeline ruptures since 2004, it's also one of the most controversial.

What Peace?

They have made a difference in Darfur, Sudan. But understaffed and underfunded—rarely able to halt aggressive attacks, the African Union peacekeeping force is becoming a target of violence themselves.

Related Events