Water Essentials

The Untapped Potential of Decentralized Solutions to Provide Safe, Sustainable Drinking Water at Large Scale

Jan. 2017
This report argues that new approaches are needed to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 by 2030. Through the analysis of 14 different small water enterprises, the report uncovers bottlenecks to scale and sustainability.



Intermittent vs. Continuous Water Supply: What Benefits do Households Actually Receive? Evidence from two cities in India

Onda, K.,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jan. 2014

This study finds that continuous water supply does not lead to more efficient consumption amongst higher income groups, and frequently leads to more waste across all income groups. Better management will lead to increased accessibility for the poorest and less wastage.

Download PDF (2.17 MB)

Water Source and Diarrhoeal Disease Risk in Children Under 5 Years Old in Cambodia: A Prospective Diary-Based Study

Hunter, P.R., et al.
BMC Public Health
Dec. 2013

Using data on diarrhoeal disease risk in Cambodian children under 5 years old, this study raises serious concerns about the validity of assuming protected groundwater is safe water for the purposes of assessing MDG targets. Furthermore, the study suggests that water provided by the NGO 1001 Fontaines provides a safer alternative to groundwater or surface water.

Download PDF (313.22 KB)

Small Town Water Services: Trends, Challenges and Models

Adank, M
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
Dec. 2013

Since 2007, more people live in urban areas than rural areas. Small towns are expected to grow in number making it essential to understand how to equip them with sustainable water services. There is a growing role for the private sector in providing these services, along with the public sector.

Download PDF (1.05 MB)

Sustainable Water Services Delivery Project Report

Fisher, M., Lecker, H., Samani, D., and Apoya, P.
Water and Sanitation for Africa, UNC Water Institute, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Oct. 2013

The results of this collaborative assessment show approximately 80% of the water points surveyed were functional - the functionality of older water points decreased by 2% per year of age and  systems collecting a tariff were 40% more likely to be functional than those without a tariff.

Download PDF (1.43 MB)

Designing Philanthropy for Impact: Giving to the Biggest Gaps in India

Mangaleswaran, R., and Venkataraman, R.
McKinsey & Company
Oct. 2013

"Designing for impact" (before starting interventions) is integral to the dialogue in philanthropy in India. This paper assesses the biggest gaps in philanthropy in India along two dimensions - sectors or causes and modes or types of interventions. Water is identified as a critical gap. 

Download PDF (563.69 KB)

Cluster-randomised controlled trials of individual and combined water, sanitation, hygiene and nutritional interventions in rural Bangladesh and Kenya: the WASH Benefits study design and rationale

Arnold et al.
BMJ Open
Aug. 2013

The WASH Benefits study aims to fill the evidence gap on the effects of individual and combined interventions - water quality, sanitation, handwashing and nutritional  - on diarrhea and growth when delivered to infants and young children. Here, study design and rationale are explained. 

Download PDF (1.46 MB)

Effect of Household-Based Drinking Water Chlorination on Diarrhoea among Children under Five in Orissa, India: A Double-Blind Randomised Placebo-Controlled Trial

Boisson et al.
Aug. 2013

This study, designed to overcome shortcomings of previous double-blinded trials of household water treatment, provides no evidence that the intervention was protective against diarrhoea. Low compliance and modest reduction in water contamination may have contributed to the lack of effect. 

Download PDF (400.16 KB)

Public Health and Social Benefits of at-house Water Supplies

Evans, B., Bartram, J., Hunter, P., Williams, A.R., Geere, J., Majuru, B., Bates, L., Fisher, M., Overbo, Al, Schmidt, W.
University of Leeds
Jun. 2013

At-home water supply has significant, measurable benefits compared to shared water supply outside the home provided that the service provided is reliable enough to ensure access to adequate quantities of water when required, suggesting a logical policy shift towards  promotion of household access.

Download PDF (1.76 MB)

Setting Priorities for Development of Emerging Interventions Against Childhood Diarrhoea

Bhutta, Z., Zipursky, A., Wazny, K., Levine, M., Black, R., Bassani, D., Shantosham, M. Freedman, S., Grange, A., Kosek, M., Keenan, W., Petri, W., Campbell, H., Rudan, I.
Journal of Global Health
Jun. 2013

An expert panel exercise was conducted to assess feasibility and potential effectiveness of 10 emerging health interventions against childhood diarrhoea. Results show most collective optimism towards developing household or community-level water treatment. 

Download PDF (824.06 KB)

Pooled Funding to Support Service Delivery: Lessons of Experience from Fragile and Conflict-Affected States

Commins, S., Davies, F., Gordon, A., Hodson, E., Hughes, and Lister, S.
Department for International Development
May. 2013

This review of 16 pooled funds highlights  potential advantages - donor harmonization and operation on a larger scale with lower transaction costs, for example - but notes their performance frequently falls short of expectations, leading donors to pursue alternative or parallel channels of funding. 

Download PDF (1.81 MB)