Water and International Development
Water is a critical factor in global public health and economic development. At least 30% of the world’s population lacks access to safely managed drinking water systems, and 55% lack access to safely managed sanitation systems. In many cases, people without access live in rural areas of developing countries, but others live in large and rapidly growing cities with poor infrastructure. Additionally, an unknown number of people live in circumstances that make them vulnerable to water-related disasters. As population increases, the climate changes, and economic and political conditions fluctuate, maintaining and improving access to safe water supplies and sanitation systems is expected to become increasingly difficult.
Sustainable development of water and wastewater systems in developing countries can require the use of engineering technologies that differ from those most commonly used in industrialized countries. It requires broader, more multi-disciplinary strategies that integrate considerations of engineering infrastructure, environmental sustainability, and promotion of human health, and it often focuses as much on grass-roots mobilization, education, and capacity building as it does on engineering methods