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

CLTS Triggering in Ghana 
Photo/Video by Diana Mrazikova

New CLTS Video Available Now

new video from Plan International and the Water Institute at UNC offers a preview of five exciting lessons on sanitation policy and practice, based on findings from operational research on community-led total sanitation (CLTS). These lessons relate to CLTS planning at the national and local levels, its place in national sanitation systems, and the importance of involving local actors. In particular, government officials, teachers, and natural leaders can play important roles in improving access to basic sanitation, and their involvement can ensure sustainable outcomes over time.


Routledge Handbook of Water and Health

A new handbook on global water and health edited by Water Institute Director Jamie Bartram and public health graduate student Rachel Baum on is now available. Written by a team of expert authors from around the world for interdisciplinary teaching for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students, “Routledge Handbook of Water and Health” covers both developing and developed country concerns. Sections include hazards, exposure, interventions, intervention implementation, distal influences, policies and implementation, investigative tools, and historic cases.


Best of UNICEF 2015

A study led by The Water Institute at UNC was just named one of the Best of UNICEF Research studies for 2015, based on research that excels at generating knowledge to inform action, shaping policy agendas, and shifting discourse to improve the lives of children everywhere. Only twelve studies were selected by UNICEF for this recognition. “Fecal contamination of drinking-water in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis” was selected as a top example of quality research and evidence gathering on children.


Water and Health Conference 2015

The Water Institute at UNC hosted the Water and Health Conference: Where Science Meets Policy on October 26-30, 2015 in Chapel Hill, NC, USA.  The Conference considered drinking water supply, sanitation, hygiene and water resources in both the developing and developed worlds with a strong public health emphasis. For details, please visit the Water and Health Conference website.

View All >

Featured Publications

Pour Flush Toilet in Nepal
Photo by Vidya VenkataramananPour Flush Toilet in Nepal
Photo by Vidya Venkataramanan

CLTS in Nepal

Plan International supports Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) implementation in a number of districts in Nepal. In this learning brief, we review Plan International Nepal’s CLTS activities. We found government targets and definitions to be ambitious while decentralized planning allowed a focus on community-led processes. Plan International and other sanitation practitioners can support CLTS outcomes by providing post-triggering training and technical support to community volunteers, focusing on achieving gradual, yet sustained outcomes in program areas, and continuing to work with local governments to ensure that financing mechanisms for the poor are locally developed and equitable.

WASH Committee Training  Photo by Mike FisherWASH Committee Training
Photo by Mike Fisher

Water Source Functionality in Ghana

Handpumps supply water to tens of millions in rural sub-Saharan Africa. One third of these are nonfunctional at any time, limiting access and leading to use of less safe sources. In Water Resources Research, we analyzed data from 1,509 handpumps in Ghana’s Afram Plains using logistic regression and a Bayesian network; management, savings, and access to tools and parts were key predictors of functionality, and interacted synergistically. Addressing such factors may enhance functionality in this setting and elsewhere. The interactions and impacts of these management factors have not been reported previously.

Sanitation Marketing Project  Photo by Jonny CrockerSanitation Marketing Project
Photo by Jonny Crocker

CLTS in Indonesia

Plan International supports Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) implementation in a number of sub-districts in Indonesia. This learning brief and underlying country report present the roles of local actors in Plan International’s program activities and highlight considerations for scalability, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Plan International and other sanitation practitioners can support the national government and local actors by placing more responsibility on sub-district staff to lead triggering, enlisting the added support of village facilitators to lead post-triggering, and scaling up village-based financing mechanisms to sustain CLTS outcomes.

Flooding after Hurricane Sandy  Photo by Flickr Creative CommonsFlooding after Hurricane Sandy
Photo by Flickr Creative Commons

Vulnerability to Loss of Drinking Water Access

Extreme weather events can result in loss of access to drinking water. In Climatic Change, we used five different indicator-based models to assess the relative vulnerability of 3,143 U.S. counties to loss of drinking water access due to droughts, floods, and cyclones. One model produced different results to the others, suggesting that model selection affects the results of vulnerability assessment. Identifying counties with the greatest vulnerability to loss of drinking water access provides useful evidence for decision-making on resource allocation and adaptation strategies.

View All >