Focus Areas

The Water Institute’s activities are centered around a core collection of focus areas, selected to represent major, under-addressed challenges justified by problem definition, opportunity characterization, and impact potential, to which we would respond with activities spanning research, teaching and learning, networking, and knowledge management.

Our focus areas evolve with changes in the situation and state of knowledge, reflecting our commitment to focus on issues of major importance to the complex ways that public health, WaSH, and development intersect in countries world-wide.


Identifying effective approaches to tackle the sanitation crisis, especially for the urban poor where the services backlog and the worst of conditions collide.

Governance and Regulation

Advancing evidence-based policies and enhancing local governance and management to ensure high quality water and sanitation services for all.

Adaptation to Climate Extremes

Increasing the resilience and reducing the vulnerability of drinking water and sanitation systems to climate extremes.

Drinking Water

Improving water systems to deliver better levels of service and improvements to health, wellbeing, and economy.

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning

Working with implementing organizations to introduce and apply efficient systems of monitoring and evaluation to directly drive improvement.

Health Systems and Healthy Environments

Minimizing disease burden, improving health service delivery, and protecting the environment by influencing the complex interactions between health systems and environmental health.

International Policy and Monitoring

Generating evidence and providing recommendations to implement and improve effective international development policies and monitoring on water.