Water and Sanitation
More than one billion people worldwide lack the clean and safe water they need and over two billion lack access to adequate sanitation. The situation is exacerbated by poor hygiene practices, rapid urbanisation, climate change and environmental degradation. The Millennium Development Goal targets to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015, would vastly improve the lives of many people. However, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania, these targets are far from being met. Improving access to adequate water and sanitation is vital in ensuring environmental health and social and economic development.
Engineering has a vital role in meeting the daily challenges faced by millions due to inadequate water and sanitation provision. Through the power of innovation and technology, engaged with the complex nature of human needs, behaviours and interactions, people's lives can be transformed.
The effects of inadequate water and sanitation provision on health are well documented; for example, diarrhoeal diseases alone contribute to nearly 1.7 million deaths a year. These health issues also impact people's livelihoods and their ability to earn an income.
The United Nations recently declared that access to clean water and sanitation is a fundamental human right. Adequate water and sanitation provision is essential to the dignity of life. Women and girls especially bear the burden with heavy household duties, physical dangers of open defecation and remote water sources. Poor sanitation at schools has a direct effect on the drop out rates of girls from education. The elderly and the disabled also face the daily struggle with inadequate and challenging infrastructure.
Water is a valuable resource, both for domestic and productive needs, but people living in poverty are often living on a knife edge and are very vulnerable to disasters and humanitarian crises endangering their access to reliable, safe water supplies. With the increase in natural disasters, fueled by the effects of climate change, communities face increased extreme events.
Safe drinking water, which is clean, accessible and affordable, and a basic level of sanitation and hygiene is required for all to live healthy and productive lives.
To get involved and contribute to our Water & Sanitation Community of Practice, sign up to the EWB-UK Watsan Google Group and click "join this group".
Engineers Without Borders UK work to date
When using any information taken from this website please adhere to our terms and conditions, in particular those relating to intellectual property rights.
- DevTech: Chris Cleaver's blog documenting his water project in Sierra Leone in 2009
- RCSC: John Heelham's blog documenting his water project placement in Cameroon in 2009-2010
- PRODECI: Daniel Gallagher's blog documenting his water placement in Ecuador in 2009
- REDES: A volunteer's casestudy documenting his investigating into housing and sanitation in rural communities placement in El Salvador in 2009
- LIRE: A volunteer's casestudy documenting his rural energy and water placement in Laos in 2008
- PRODECI: A volunteer's blog documenting his design and construction of built infrastructure placement in Ecuador in 2007
- PRODECI: A volunteer's casestudy documenting his design and construction of built infrastructure placement in Ecuador in 2007
- Also, take a look at our collection of photos and videos from placements on picasaweb.google.com/100637455804104215921 and www.youtube.com/user/EWBUK
- The Impact of Design and Operating Parameters on Small-Scale Slow Sand Filtration Performance for Household Water Treatment in Developing Countries - Sarah Clayton
- Decision Making Tool for Water Supply improvements - Sabitri Tripathi
- These and many other research papers can be found on our Scribd account at: www.scribd.com/EWBUK , and especially on our Water and Sanitation dedicated collection at: http://www.scribd.com/collections/4198940/Water-and-Sanitation
- Community water systems in Ecuador - a blog by Hayley Sharp
Current opportunities with Engineers Without Borders UK
Other interesting links
- Successful organisations in the developing world
- WEDC, Loughborough University
- Lifewater - pump resources
- Rainwater harvesting
If there are other things that you would like to see on this page then contact us.
Placement and Bursaries work are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.