Research,
Policy, and
Practice

We are problem solvers focused on the sustainable management of water for health and human development. We contribute to improving access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene for all.

News Briefs

Water Microbiology Conference

The Water Institute at UNC, in partnership with the Water Environment Federation, is hosting the Water Microbiology Conference on May 18-22, 2015 in Chapel Hill, NC, USA. The Conference will create a forum for researchers and practitioners focused on microbiology and public health. You can view information about this year’s themes and registration here.

Calling for a New Global Standard

A new study conducted by The Water Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine calls for a new global standard for improvements in household drinking water and sanitation access. Published in Plos One, the study found that using different benchmarks for water and sanitation masked deficits in household water access.

News To Your Inbox

Our newsletter offers up-to-date information about The Water Institute at UNC as well as relevant news briefs from around the globe. The latest issue highlights our upcoming conferences and a recent UN-Water analytical brief highlighting wastewater management as a critical step in improving global water quality and public health. To subscribe to our newsletter, please click here.

Our Director’s Message

On World Plumbing Day, March 11, 2015, our director Dr. Jamie Bartram (pictured at right) gave the annual lecture for England’s Worshipful Company of Plumbers. In his lecture entitled “Plumbing for Health,” Dr. Bartram discussed how plumbing has brought health and convenience to many, while many others have yet to receive its benefits. Decent water and sanitation are pivotal in furthering human development.

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Featured Publications

New Report on WaSH in Health Facilities

Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) are essential to health service delivery and improving quality of care. In a new World Health Organization and UNICEF report, the Water Institute at UNC assessed the status of WaSH in health care facilities in 54 low- and middle-income countries and found 38% lack an improved water source, 19% lack improved sanitation, and 35% lack soap for hand washing. Countries with a national plan for WaSH in health care generally had higher coverage. Improving service levels requires health sector leadership, technical inputs from the WaSH sector, and political commitment. Read More >

How to Monitor Global Equity in Access

Successful implementation of the human right to water and sanitation can be guided by accountability frameworks and indicators. To examine the translation of data to indicators, The Water Institute and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights hosted a workshop at the 2011 Water and Health Conference. In JWaSHDev, we recount workshop discussions, highlighting the need for globally comparable indicators that use practical measures of water quality, reflect the complexities of affordability, measure reliability, and monitor progress among marginalized groups.

Non-Household Monitoring

Expanding WaSH coverage and monitoring in non-household settings is an important post-2015 development objective. In the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, we reviewed the status of non-household monitoring and developed a typology of non-household settings. We found most actors focus on monitoring WaSH in schools and health facilities with less attention on settings such as markets and workplaces. To achieve robust national and international monitoring, action must be taken to set guidelines, build national capacity, and translate data into actionable evidence.

Water Safety in the USA

Water Safety Plans (WSPs) are a preventive approach for delivering safe drinking water and health benefits, based on systematic evidence from Iceland. To date, however, United States (US) authorities have not widely adopted WSPs. In the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, we examine the added value of WSPs in comparison with US drinking water regulations. While fairly well-aligned, gaps exist in team formation and training, risk management, and management procedures and plans. We conclude WSP implementation by US authorities could close the gaps and improve water quality and human health.

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