Globally, about 800 million people lack access to improved water supply services, and almost three billion lack basic sanitation. The economic and public health impacts of this access gap are substantial. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, people spend more than 40 billion hours hauling water each year. Diarrheal diseases, resulting principally from poor sanitation and water supply, claim the lives of 1.8 million people each year, virtually all of them children under the age of 5 who live in low- and middle-income countries.

Program researchers address issues such as water quality and quantity, sanitation and hygiene, health and resource recovery for energy and food production. Their goals are to strengthen the scientific basis for water and sanitation decision-making, and ultimately to improve the health and well-being of households in some of the world’s poorest countries.

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