Water is a critical factor in global public health and community development. Roughly one-third of the world’s population lacks access to safely managed drinking water systems, and about half the world’s population lacks 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. Many more people live in circumstances that make their water and sanitation systems vulnerable to disasters. Sustainable development of water and sanitation systems in low- and middle-income communities requires contextual and participatory strategies that integrate engineering infrastructure, environmental sustainability, human health, and community development.
The Water and International Development (WAID) graduate program provides students with a multi-disciplinary program of study in water engineering and management and their roles in community development and public health. The program emphasizes integrated approaches (e.g., joint consideration of water, energy, and waste) and sustainability. Students gain a thorough understanding of water science along with a broad range of contextual approaches for drinking water treatment and delivery, wastewater reuse and disposal, as well as irrigation and drainage systems. Students also gain an understanding of the economic, sociological, and epidemiological aspects of development projects. The program considers development from the village scale to the global scale, and students in this program can design a plan of study that matches their individual goals and interests. Students in the program earn both a graduate degree in civil and environmental as well as an International Development Studies graduate certificate.