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

India: Toxic Tanneries

India is the world's second largest producer of leather and leather goods—the toxic working conditions and environmental effects are beyond measure.

Undark Podcast: Wear and Tear

Podcast with former New York Times science editor David Corcoran discusses a series on the global leather tanning and textile industries with grantees Larry and Debbie Price.

Worse for Wear: Indonesia’s Textile Boom

The rise of fabric and textile manufacturing brought jobs to Indonesia’s West Java province. It also brought abject pollution to the Citarum River. 

Finding Home Again in Ivory Coast

After recent political violence divided communities, some in Ivory Coast look to local water management as a key to reconciliation, social cohesion and long-lasting peace.

Water Infrastructure in New York City

Over the next 20 years, New York will pour millions of dollars into upgrading its water infrastructure. Our student reporters explain the importance of this upgrade.

Chinese Chemical Plants Ruin Sun River

"If you want to clean up the river, you need to close the chemical plants and stop throwing the garbage. Then the goverment can offer the water to this river again." 

The Water Problem in Dong Lian

The rope of the bucket got longer and longer, which they used to get the water from the wells. Everyday the well became dirtier and dirtier.