Policy, and

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

Upcoming Nexus Conference

The Water Institute at UNC and collaborators are hosting the Nexus 2015: Water, Food, Climate and Energy Conference on March 15-17 in Chapel Hill, NC, USA. The Conference will bring together scientists and practitioners working in government, civil society and business, as well as other stakeholders. Please see the Conference site about this year’s themes and registration.

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 the UN-Water’s GLASS report and distance learning and post-doctoral job opportunities with The Water Institute at UNC. To subscribe to our newsletter, please click here.

Water and Health

Our 2014 Water and Health Conference was a great success! 530 participants from 31 countries came together October 13-17 to consider drinking water supply, sanitation, and hygiene, and water resources in both the developing and developed worlds. Archives and products from this year’s conference, including videos, are available at

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Recent Publications

Safe Water in Iceland

The national framework for safe drinking water in Iceland sets out legislated roles and responsibilities for key actors. In the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, we analyze implementation performance and conclude the main components are in place, including water quality surveillance and mandatory water safety plans. However, enforcement of legal requirements and guidance by central authorities need improvement. Lessons are transferable to other European nations and provide insight into the development of national frameworks for water safety.

Low-Cost Maintenance

Small, rural, piped water supply systems are often unable to provide reliable, safe, and sustainable services. Circuit Rider (CR) post-construction support (PCS) addresses these challenges through technical, financial, and operational assistance. This article, in The Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, is the first rigorous study of the CRPCS model. In a case-control study in El Salvador, CRPCS communities had better water quality and sustainability outcomes. CRPCS offers practitioners a low-cost approach (< $1/household/year) for improving water services.

Sustainability Check

Poor sustainability of rural water and sanitation, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, has increased the need for post-construction monitoring and support. To address this issue, the Sustainability Check (SC) was developed as part of the One Million Initiative in Mozambique as an annual audit tool to monitor rural water and sanitation from 2008-2012 to facilitate learning and program changes.‬ Water Institute researchers collaborated with UNICEF Mozambique to describe the SC’s methods, evolution and annual results in the Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development‬.

Global Monitoring

The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) tracks international drinking water and sanitation coverage by analyzing data from household surveys and national censuses. This article, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, describes and critically reviews the JMP method in detail for the first time. Findings include limitations of the current JMP method and future monitoring needs, including addressing water quality, equity, and the use of multiple drinking water and sanitation facilities within and outside of the home.

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