Research is a critical component of water and sanitation provisions. The main challenge is to establish strong linkages between research, policy and the empowerment of people. 

Research on improving access to water supply, sanitation, and hygiene is a development motor; it contributes to evidence, knowledge generation, and sustainable solutions for the sector.

Research institutions worldwide contribute to a wide range of issues within the water, sanitation, and hygiene sector. From education, conducting theoretical and practical studies that are giving scientific evidence for advocacy and policy, to developing appropriate technologies .

Research issues in the sector are numerous. In sanitation, for example, there main  outstanding research issues concern  sanitation marketing and business opportunities, cost-benefit estimates of implementation, and the development and optimization of appropriate technologies that are socioeconomically and environmentally sound.
There is ample scientific evidence on the health benefits of hygiene interventions (e.g. washing hands with soap after using the toilet stops the spread of disease) and studies on hygiene-related behaviour are mainly conducted with a focus on personal and home hygiene.

Related research on water investigates waterborne (and related) diseases, as well as the calculation of economic gains and losses, and impact on livelihoods and productivity that access to water provides. A much-debated topic currently is the research on the effects of climate change on the environment and water. 

In 2006, CERFE (Centro di Ricerca e Documentazione Febbraio ’74) undertook a large-scale study of all research actors and ongoing research projects in the water and sanitation sector. The study, supported by WSSCC, is called “Bridging the gap between research and policies on water issues” and can be found under WSSCC Resources.

Following are some recommended links to a selection of international research institutions focussing on WASH in developing countries:

Last updated: Tue, 11/16/2010 - 17:23