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Current Projects

WHD researchers work to create the knowledge, skills and solutions needed to support effective management of water and wastes, and to ensure sustained, equitable access to water supply and sanitation services. Our research addresses issues such as water quality and quantity, sanitation and hygiene, health and resource recovery for energy and food production. 

Research Area: Business models, Human health & medicine, Rural services & development, Water supply
This project explores preferences of water services and the costs and benefits of transitioning from unimproved water sources to piped household water connections. We aim to capture how the transition affects quantity and quality of water consumed, changes in household time allocation, cost of water and common indicators of health such as diarrheal morbidity. We are also focusing on maternal stress and child development outcomes, exploring whether children experience lifelong health and productivity impairments due to poor quality water services during early childhood.
Research Area: Health behavior, Human health & medicine, Rural services & development, Sanitation & wastewater
WHD, Sesame Workshop and World Vision have partnered together to investigate key impacts and outcomes of the WASH UP! program. The WASH UP! initiative aims to reduce the number of children suffering or dying from preventable and treatable diseases by providing access to meaningful sanitation and hygiene education and the necessary infrastructure. To build evidence around and improve WASH infrastructure and behavior change programming through WASH UP!, WHD researchers are conducting an impact evaluation of the program to investigate key impacts and outcomes over a three-year period.
Research Area: Human health & medicine, Technology development, Sanitation & wastewater, Urban service delivery, Water quality & treatment
The Lotus Water project provides solutions for the more than 500 million people living in cities of the developing world who have piped water service but receive water that does not meet international standards for safety. The team’s business pilot involves offering landlords different packages of chlorine refill and hand pump maintenance services. This approach to water treatment employs technologies that deliver high quality water on a reliable basis, with virtually no behavior change required on the part of users.
Research Area: Human health & medicine
Ali Boehm received a new grant from NSF to study norovirus persistence in surface waters. Even though norovirus is a leading cause of water-associated illness worldwide, there are only 2 studies on its persistence in surface waters. Norovirus cannot be readily cultured, so innovative methods have to be developed to approximate its infectivity during persistence studies. Boehm is working with collaborators at the CDC including Stanford alumna Mia Mattioli.
Research Area: Coastal zones, Science & engineering, Water quality & treatment
Stormwater runoff has been found to be a frequent source of pollution to waterways, as it mobilizes contaminants from impervious urban landscapes to aquatic environments. Led by Ali Boehm and PhD student Katy Graham, the research team is collecting dry weather and wet weather water samples from urban creeks in the area and processing them to quantify fecal indicator bacteria  and human enteric viruses.

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