Drinking Water

Over 1.8 billion people lack safe drinking water. Many more do not have a reliable service. In low-income countries, urban population growth is a major challenge, as is aging infrastructure in high-income countries. In all countries, small water supplies often fail and are more frequently contaminated.

Safe and reliable drinking water is a human right, and this is increasingly reflected in national and international targets. We see concrete opportunities to improve health and wellbeing by accelerating the shift of focus to higher service levels, particularly piped systems that deliver water to households, and implementation of lessons learned about extending and improving services. Higher levels of service (piped water) contribute far more to health and wellbeing than lower levels of service (community wells).

Our research explores the health and other benefits of different water services, identifies inequalities and their consequences, tests technologies and strategies that can help to improve drinking water systems and services to benefit health, and analyses the impacts of policies and regulations.

Our distance learning courses on Water Safety Planning, launched in 2013, have been delivered five times to over 75 mid-career professionals on six continents. The course describes the steps and tools needed to implement a water safety plan, as well as case studies, assessments, and examples of impacts.

WASH Committee Training Photo by Mike Fisher

WASH Committee Training, photo by Mike Fisher

Examples of projects include: