MEDIA ADVISORY: Improving Access to Safe Water, Sanitation, Hygiene Requires Better Decision-Making Tools, Finds Joint Pacific Institute-ECSP Report

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene Sector Lacks Comprehensive Decision-Making Tool

May 02, 2008

WASHINGTON—Today, 1.1 billion people lack access to safe water and 2.6 billion lack access to safe sanitation, even though many existing technologies and approaches can ensure access to clean water, safe sanitation, and hygiene education. In a report released today, scientists and development experts evaluate decision-making tools for practitioners in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector. "The good news is there already are many workable solutions that can improve the water and sanitation issues people are struggling with. Unfortunately, it can be a tremendous challenge for communities to figure out which strategy fits their situation best, and to maintain these technologies over time," said Meena Palaniappan, who co-authored the report with Micah Lang and Peter H. Gleick.

Directed by Peter H. Gleick at the Pacific Institute and by Geoffrey D. Dabelko at the Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program, A Review of Decision-Making Support Tools in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector recommends the development of a comprehensive WASH decision-making tool that would allow users to compare the construction, operation, and management requirements; costs; financing options; scalability; and institutional needs of WASH technologies and approaches. This tool would also address the needs of different geographic locations, evaluate opportunities for community involvement, and use case studies to demonstrate technologies in action.

For more information, contact Karin Bencala at 202-691-4185 or karin.bencala@wilsoncenter.org.

The Pacific Institute works to find real-world solutions to problems like water shortages, habitat destruction, global warming, and environmental injustice. A nonpartisan organization based in Oakland, California, it conducts research, publishes reports, recommends solutions, and works with decision-makers, advocacy groups, and the public to change policy.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is the living, national memorial to President Wilson established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. It is a nonpartisan institution, supported by public and private funds, engaged in the study of national and world affairs.

Since 1994, the Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program has explored the connections among environmental challenges and

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